Glenn Coffee picked God over Mammon. It defies logic, and flies in the face of everything modern America represents. How dare the former Alabama football player put his emphasis on something beyond this world; why lay up your treasure in heaven when you can do it in San Francisco? Sure moth and rust and earthquakes might corrupt those treasures, but life is supposed to be about money.
However, Coffee wants his focus to be on something permanent. According to the Sacramento Bee, “And money throughout your life has nothing to do with your salvation in Christ. A lot of players get that money. And they chase that money, man, and I feel that they’re really missing the true meaning of life.”
Another interesting part of the article was Coffee’s answer to the issue of his arrest for possession of a gun. Coffee explained that he likes guns, wants to collect guns and doesn’t have a problem with the use of a firearm for self-defense. In other words, he sounds like a typical Southern man—we like God and guns.
However, is Coffee correct about the corrupting influence of money? Certainly, we see the comments of Christ in the New Testament. The Son of God was very clear about the influence of wealth—often we trust in it instead of in God. But Western Civilization is largely the result of the rise of a work ethic that said material success is often a sign of God’s blessing. The role of Calvinism and the Protestant Work Ethic made the accumulation of capital possible, and in no small measure helped create the blessings we enjoy today in a powerhouse economy that has defined the 20th and now 21st centuries.
You get some negative with the good.
A survey of college football will show that some people (boosters at certain schools) pick winning over everything. Some schools cloak themselves in the label of “God” and then associate with pieces of crap in an effort to win at all costs. (Perhaps they should listen to the warning of St. Paul who quoted Euripides in saying that “evil company corrupts good morals.”) Today one SEC school plans to build a statue to a laptop thief (yes, he stole the laptop if you read the police report and not something that idiot Phillip Marshall writes). Doing the right thing doesn’t matter—winning is all that matters.
The same things can be seen in high school athletics. High school athletics has long since traded in its virginity for winning and high profile coaches. Does anyone remember Hoover High School’s time on MTV? The growth of televised high school games increases the stakes for everyone involved in high school sports. It is only a matter of time until the nonsense we see in college athletics trickles down to high school sports. While the absurdity of building a statue to a piece of crap isn’t likely to happen at most high schools, some will embrace the hypocrisy seen in college.
And college football is about to experience a substantial change, and this is a change that pushes it further away from its past and present. Mr. College Football points out this simple fact in his latest post. According to Tony Barnhart the Big Ten is telling everyone, “We can afford to give the athletes some money and we are going to seriously think about doing so. If you can’t, that’s your problem.” And according to the same report, the SEC is likely to push for this as well. What does this mean? “That sound you just heard was the commissioners of the MAC, WAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and Sun Belt banging their collective heads on the table. Keeping up with the big boys is tough enough to do as it is. This would make it nearly impossible.”
This could be a good thing for the sport. Provided that it moves away from the pretense that academics or anything but money matters to the BCS conferences and schools. Hypocrisy is a bad thing for the sport. Eliminating that would be one giant improvement.
But is the pursuit of money the best thing in life? There are consequences for individuals and even organizations. Coffee recognized it and picked a new path. The major football conferences have picked their own path. It might be good for the sport. Or we might see more statues to laptop thieves and academic cheaters. Only time will tell.