Athletes are a religious group. Athletes talk about the importance of Christ and discipline more than the general population. I base this assertion on watching athletes twitter, live television coverage of games where athletes praise God following victory and the role of the FCA in college athletics across the country.

That is not a bad thing. In fact, considering there are too many Charles Barkleys who don’t want to be role models, there needs to be more good role models.

With doping scandals rocking the sports world, news broke last week that the Vatican wants to examine a twofold question: “What does the World of Sports need from the Church? And what does the Church need from the World of Sports?”

The world of sports needs the Church to arm Christians against the temptations. The Church must prepare Christians to discern truth from lies because too many times religion is used by those who are not advancing the cause of Christ. (Yes, I am talking about S.W.A.T.S. and will explain below.)

The purpose of the conference is to examine the role faith plays in sports.

“It is intended as a way of showing how it is possible to live the faith in the world of sports, shaken as it is by scandals of corruption and doping,” Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alamdea, Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture told the Capstone Report. The Monsignor heads the sports and culture desk for the Council.

The news last week focused on the potential invitations for Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin—both Christian believers with a high profile in American professional sports. While there has not been a formal invitation, the Monsignor said both are on the “wish list” for the conference.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games in London showed what an important role faith plays in sports, an aspect often neglected by many,” he said. The Vatican intends to hold the seminar sometime in the spring, but an exact date will be set depending on the Pope’s calendar.

It is a noble goal to examine how Christians deal with the temptations of doping and corruption in the world of sport. Certainly, faith is a key.

Faith is important in Alabama. It plays a role in the lives of athletes at the University of Alabama. One of the most memorable examples involving a sporting event and faith was Alabama quarterback Jay Barker’s testimony after Alabama defeated Georgia at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1994. Barker’s testimony of God’s goodness was shown on live national television. Current Alabama football coach Nick Saban, winner of three of the last four national championships and holder of four national championships, attends Mass and I am told he does so faithfully. It is easy to see how faith and the example of his family inspire Saban’s charitable works. (As an aside, Saban would be an excellent person to invite to this conference, as he is the most successful coach in contemporary college football and can speak to how his program works to create character on and off the field.)

While examining faith in the world of sport, the current S.W.A.T.S. controversy swirling around Super Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis and S.W.A.T.S. along with S.W.A.T.S. insistence that Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole Miss and other SEC football programs have used the Deer Antler Spray (snakeoil) is an important example of how Jesus is used to sell a product.

S.W.A.T.S. founder Mitch Ross and cohort Christopher Key peddle Christian faith as part of their sales process. According to a lawsuit filed against Ross and S.W.A.T.S. by NFL player David Vobora, The S.W.A.T.S. “Program is about Christian role models teaching all athletes—from youth athletes to professionals—about character and staying drug free from steroids as well as recreational drugs and alcohol.”

Vobora tested positive for a banned substance and sent his bottle of the Ultimate Sports Spray out for testing. The Aegis Sciences Corporation of Nashville tested and found his bottle of the spray was “contaminated with methyltestosterone.”

The lawsuit against the company charged the defendants including Ross, “falsely represented ‘The S.W.A.T.S. Program is about Christian role models teaching all athletes—from youth athletes to professionals—about character and staying drug free from steroids as well as recreational drugs and alcohol’, when in fact, SWATS Ultimate Sports Spray contained methyltestosterone which was not disclosed on the product labeling.”

That is a nice, lawyerly way of saying hypocrite.

The S.W.A.T.S. presentation has been made to middle school students. The video is embedded below:

In one video posted on YouTube, Key speaks about S.W.A.T.S. at Oak Mountain Middle School’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting on February 23, 2012. He says S.W.A.T.S. can stand for Sports With Alternative To Steroids or Sports With Alternative To Sin. He explains how his product of athletic enhancers were banned by the NFL, Alabama and others. “Satan has done everything to shut us down,” he told the middle schoolers.

Perhaps most scandalous in the YouTube video is when Key talks about how believers cannot “see or touch Him (Jesus), but you feel him in your hearts” and then follows it up with a demonstration of how radio frequencies influence the body despite not being able to see or feel them. “The frequency of the cell phone zapped him. He did not see it or feel it, but it zapped him,” Key said on the YouTube video.

The questionable activities of S.W.A.T.S. included filming Alabama athletes with a pen camera. This video was shown to Sports Illustrated.

According to Sports Illustrated, the video showed Key handing out products then saying he would lie about how the players acquired the product.

That Key guy is a realm model of Christ. I have no doubt that Christ lied all the time to make a buck or acquire a product endorsement.

Oh wait, the Gospels show that Christ, while personally present on earth, lived a life that was a light to others. Christ lived a life that did not exploit, but was a blessing to us all.

The Tuscaloosa News reported Thursday morning how the S.W.A.T.S. people stalked the Alabama football team. According to the report, “ has learned that SWATS representatives stayed in the same hotel as the UA team several times in recent years before football games but were removed at the behest of UA officials when they were discovered.”

The questionable methods of this organization raise real questions about S.W.A.T.S. Clearly, the use of Jesus to sell a product, and what appears to be stalking Alabama football players despite two cease and desist letters from the University of Alabama speaks to the character of these shameless self-promoters.

The doping scandals and the S.W.A.T.S. snakeoil salesmen show that Christians must be vigilant. There are many temptations for the college football player. Sex, money and shortcuts like doping are just a few of the temptations. It is hard enough when the temptations are clear. When they come dressed as a tool for Jesus, it is harder. Christians must not fall for a sales pitch because it includes the name of Christ.

9 thoughts on “Mixing Jesus, sports and S.W.A.T.S.”

  1. Oh boy … I grew up in Alabama and it took years for me to realize what an asshole I was… Started with me realizing the Bible wasn’t telling me specific things to do, but rather it was telling me I couldn’t understand the right things to do no matter what because I was born a hopeless sinful wretch. To fix this for me God incarnated himself as a man, and lived a life that left me only two rational choices – either that man was a lunatic – or he was exactly who he said he was. I have been blessed to choose the latter of the two possibilities leaving me in a state of still being an asshole (cause I can’t help that remember – I’m a broken sinful wretch), but I am constantly telling God I am sorry for it which leads to me constantly saying thank you because of all the good things – family, friends, provision, and the list goes on that an asshole like me does not deserve. I find that in the process of constantly telling God sorry and thank you a lot of good things present themselves. I’m so thankful for that relationship and Christ who makes it possible…

    But now back to what I learned growing up in Bama:

    Dear 8 pound 9 ounce baby Jesus… Sitting in your manger full of hay playing with your Baby Einstein fundamental… I just want to thank you for all the games we have won and the 15 National Chamionships!!! WOW!!!! Love those titles that my team has accrued and in a binding endorsement with Little Debbie that stipulates I have an oatmeal cream pie at every meal…

    Oh and thanks for smoking hot wife too…

    Roll Tide Everyone and God Bless!

  2. Snake oil salesmen aren’t new. Been around for thousands of years. Still makes me shudder to watch an old Western and a rickety wagon roll into town with those charlatan morons hawking their ‘tonic’ and ‘remedies’. Only God kbniws what kind of shit was in those bottles and powders. Orobably killed 20 times as many as they healed if they healed any. Kind if like todays phamaceutical companies. They promote an inorganic drug to help you get some relief from say something minor like RLS, and you lose 20 years off your lifespan because of damage it causes to half a dozen different organs. They are all snake oil salesmen. Doesn’t matter uf it’s little ol’ S.W.A.T.S. or Bayer. But these fukers better damn well hope nothing comes of this against Alabama or I will personally make sure they are out of business and out of time. By the way, there is no God such as the one the Bible would have you believe. There was someone no doubt, but no one I’d be bowing down before and worshiping, that I’ll guarantee.

  3. I wish instead of always chastising and penalizing schools that the NCAA would do something to ban these morons from every university in the country. There should be some recourse for not abiding by cease and desist letters…what is it??

    1. Maybe Bammer should send C & D letters to the boosters that pay Bammer players. Although, its hard to send C & D letters to a Bammer assistants!

      1. Maybe we should send letters to Bama boosters asking for a handout for the Vols to pay their rent on Neyland Stadium and turn the lights back on. GTFO Indy!

  4. I just don’t understand this. How in the world can a spray made from deer horns make one more physical? Maybe these two yo-yos have bear paws and copper rings also. And even some Rhino horns ? RTR

  5. It cannot. I couls tell you that myself. But I don’t have to since the doctors have already said so. There arw certain drugs which can pasa tgeir effects ‘TEMPORARILY’ into your body by way of a patch. Some of these are the smoking patch, the pain control patch and the birth control patch. As for spraying under the tongue it is the same thing except that by speaying on the mucos membrane under the tongue it works faster. However, in no shape, form or fashion can a spray or patch transfer the deer hormones into your luver where they have to be processed and changed unto usable human hormones. It is all bullshit snakeoil jargon. The ‘High’ these highly impressionable young football players think they are getting comea strictly from the other drugs or herbs tjat are mixed in the product. It is the same high or energy shot that you get from downing one or two 5 hour energy shots. The deer antler product that after many treatments would work has to be injected directly into the blood where it would go directly to the liver for proccessing. That is what the NCAA has banned. Using a patch or spray although ever one of the players knew they were disobeying, is not illegal or cheating. The only effect they get is a short term energy boost to make them think something is happening and get them to part with an exorbitant amount of money for useless bullshit. Then NCAA CANNOT AND WILL NOT do anything about this. The dipshit media jumped on it with both feet to jave a hot topic in a booring time of the year, snd the millions of inbred homers who hate the SEC in general and Alanama in paticular are having an orgasmic experience by saying Bama cheated to win and at the thought if the NCAA droping the hammer. I’ll guarantee you that every team in the ciuntry has players who down 5 hour energy shots and Red Bulls etc before and during every game. Those drinks contain the same ingredients as S.W.A.T.S. ptches and sprays minus the deer antler which in that form is worthless. SOOOOO – fuck ’em all to hell. RTR!

  6. my understanding is that Coach Saban is about to do away with the ‘star’ unit of measurement for rating recruits and go to boone and crockett.

    (it’s a joke, guys, a joke!)

    i do hear we have several twelve points in this next class.

    (i’m killing)

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