Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people. Proverbs 11:3 (NLT)
Say it ain’t so, Joe was a phrase made famous for fallen heroes like Shoeless Joe Jackson, those whose reputations suffered because of the less-than-honest ways they made that reputation. Shoeless Joe and the 1919 Chicago WhiteSox reportedly conspired to “throw” the World Series that year, causing 9 of the team members to be banned from baseball for life.
Professional sports and scandal are certainly old friends.
I know a little less than nothing about FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), but many news outlets are reporting this week on the scandal.
According to the BBC, It seems a number of top level officials of the FIFA group that controls soccer’s “superbowl,” The World Cup, are under indictment for corruption, including ten million dollar bribes to fix where the next big event will be held; it’s the kind of intrigue which would make the court of Henry the 8th proud.
Now, I’m a working-class guy, and in America football is played with helmets, huddles, audibles and lots of grunting. I’m not sure where the line got crossed when we named our game "football"….European football (soccer) has been around a lot longer…and is a lot bigger on the world scene than the NFL.
Worldwide, however, the “scandal list” is not short; start with:
· Shoeless Joe Jackson and the White Sox in 1919
· Mark McGwire’s 70 steroid home runs in 1998
· Lance Armstrong’s 7 consecutive drug-driven Tour de France titles
· World-class figure skater Tonya Harding paying a thug to break fellow skater Nancy
Kerrigan’s leg so she couldn’t compete against her in the ’92 Olympics
· Ben Johnson’s drug-enhanced world sprinting records
· Boxing, Horse racing, UFC (sorry Drew) and Stock cars…, well…enough said!
Back to the scandal of the hour at FIFA; it’s not unusual to find corruption in an organization. If there’s big money at stake, there will always be those who will find a way to get more than their fair share.
This is as old as the serpent’s plot in the Garden of Eden to take God’s place (which was a LOT more than HIS share!
What really tweaks me is the trickle-down tarnish that comes out of this stuff. You take a ball and a kid who likes to kick a ball, and run until he’s exhausted…a completely wholesome, body-building, character-building, mind-cleansing activity….dress it up with flashy uniforms, sports gloves and nets…put up gazillion-watt lights for night games, turn on the cameras, and pay for it all with beer commercials…and, voilà – the innocence of childhood disappears, as the money-grabbers kick into high gear!
And for what? 16 minutes of fame on Youtube or David Letterman?
Is that what selling our childhood innocence (and the resultant non-existance of adulthood integrity) is worth?
If you have a tendency to grab for the brass ring in your trip on life’s merry-go-round, I really don’t want to rain on your parade; I would only suggest you study carefully what the end result will be, and what you have to do to wind up on top.
Once you’ve done that, measure what you’ve found against what your LORD said in His Sermon on the Mount:
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 (NLT)