Philip Rivers: Catholic Quarterback? (Updated)

(Update: I created a second post that answers many of the concerns in the comments. You can read it here, if you haven’t already.)

Sometime over the Summer – or perhaps it was early Fall – I watched an episode Life on the Rock where Philip Rivers was interviewed. (Note: Video may not work any more; I believe the interview was conducted by Father Francis Mary. I have searched for a copy on YouTube, but to no avail.) He spoke a bit about his faith, about how his proposal to his college sweetheart (a cheerleader!) was not a mistake, how he is happy to be married in spite of what teammates might think.

One would think that someone who appears on EWTN and talks about how important his faith is to him would be more discerning about his behavior.

Philip Rivers has, in recent games, acted in a manner totally unbefitting of a Catholic. Trash talking at the Broncos game. Taunting Colts fans.

Seriously, is this how he thinks Catholic athletes should act?

I hope Philip Rivers’ family and his priest discuss his unmanly behavior with him. His uncharitible behavior. I don’t care if his trash talk at the Broncos game was “no different than any other game I’ve ever played in since I was 10 years old.” When the cameras continually catch you looking like this:

… you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do. You’ve got some apologies to make. If you’ve got no bad blood between you and the other guy, you publically come out and tell people you’re sorry that you’ve had this attitude – even if it’s just a perception, for perception is reality for those of us who are watching you in snippets on television – and that you’re going to work on being a better sportsman in the future. Then you shut your mouth and keep your head down.

In the past, I have pointed him out to my daughters. They love to see committed Christians – especially Catholics – in the public eye. It’s good to see someone live out their faith in a culture where everything seems to be telling you not to pay attention to some dead Guy from 2000 years ago.

When Philip Rivers takes the field, all those young men who watched him on EWTN are looking at him as a role model. Like it or not, he came out and said I’m a Catholic. I live out my faith in the face of ridicule. It’s possible to do that. Just watch me! and became a role model to them all.

But when he taunts Indianapolis fans in the last minutes of the game and has shouting matches with them, he’s not showing how possible it is to live the faith. Tony Dungee had way more class than Rivers last night. Calm and collected, he warmly congratulated the Chargers on their victory. He didn’t show anger. He didn’t taunt anyone. He took his loss like a man.

Watching Rivers last night, I was reminded about a portion of Champions of Faith when Mike Sweeny discussed his run-in with a pitcher. He was angry and had multiple fights with the other player; when he arrived at the youth group that weekend, one of the girls from his parish came to him, crying, asking why he acted that way. “I am so disappointed!” she told him. He apologized to her. Even if he felt justified in the moment, he realized that he should have been setting an example that the children at his parish could follow; he did not do that. It took him years to apologize to the pitcher, but he eventually did that, as well. He realized that he needed to be an example for his son, and he could not be a good example if he didn’t apologize for what he’d done.

This is what Philip Rivers must do. Humble himself. And that is pretty hard to do, especially when he’s got most of the sporting world telling him he’s The Man.

Philip, take another look at yourself. Don’t just watch the game tapes this week, but also take in what the media has shown us – your attitude. Is that the kind of attitude you want your children to emulate? Anyone’s children? Shape up, kiddo, and make a public apology for your poor sportsmanship. It will not be easy, and you might not even feel you need to, but it’s the right thing to do. Millions of young Catholics started looking up to you after that interview. Besides, you’re not The Man.

He is.
And He took much more ridicule than you ever will. Yet He opened not his mouth.
[image source – Rivers]

10 thoughts on “Philip Rivers: Catholic Quarterback? (Updated)

  1. Wow, Out of line you are. First of all, who are you to judge? Do you fall short, yes, we all do so do not judge. Secondly, I am assuming you have never played a sport or have absoultey no competitive spirit because it is not easy to always keep a cool head on the field. Youre taking Rivers actions way out of context. Where you with him on the field? Do you know what was being said, NO, you do not. It makes me mad when people like you discredit other people for trying to be christians on and off the field. He is a role model for kids and adults, but you have no idea what he even said. Dont judge is the bottom line. And one more thing, GO CHARGERS!!!

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  2. To Anonymous:There was no judgment in that post. She was only pointing out behavior that was unbecoming of a Catholic in the public eye. Yes, it is true we don’t know exactly what he said, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is how is behavior is perceived and it looked pretty bad.Judgment involves determining someone’s eternal status; this post simply pointed out a public display of bad behavior and Mr. Rivers should apologize. He is human and got caught up in the moment, but that does not excuse what he did.

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  3. Your are wrong about Philip. He is a good man. Cutler was yelling terrible obscenities at Philip’s teammates and he was coming to their defense and never yelled at Cutler personally but did cut his eyes at him. This is football not a tea party it is part of the game – can you imagine the testerone on that field for 3 hours?!? He means nothing by it and he went to shake Cutler’s hand after the game and he was nowhere to be found so he shook the second string quarterback’s hand. He never taunts anyone. He does respond sometimes. So what?!?Dont’ let ESPN tell you what to think. That’s what the devil wants. He is using ESPN and other football pundits to defame his character so the young people won’t get his message on chastity. The devil strikes hard at corrupting our youth.I know Philip. Believe me is a good, good man. He is real though – I really think he forgets where he is sometimes, he does not try to portray himself to be a certain type, he is just genuine, extremely genuine.Sincerely,Gloria

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  4. Dear Christine,I decided to post again to ask you a question – Do you agree with Philip’s chastity message? I am going to assume that yes you do as it seems that you adhere to the true teachings of The Church from glancing at this blog.And if you do, why would you discredit Philip’s message by writing this blog entry? Look further into the situation. There are many coming out defending him:Eric Allen on the Colin Cowherd radio show : (I would post a link but don’t know if that’s possible within this comment)Also, Phil Simms wrote an article as did a few others. Also listen to Philip’s press conference explaining himself. He is his own man, he knows who he answers to. But he is a football player. And he has his personality for a reason, you’ll see. But right now, please do not buy into what the devil is selling and please for the sake of all that is sacred do not be the devil’s advocate by discrediting Philip’s chastity message. We must protect our youth from falling into the sins of the flesh.JMJGloria

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  5. Bravo! That post was sheer joy to read because of its truth. There is no judgment in calling a showboating loudmouth out for his actions. I saw that interview on ewtn and, being a bronco fan, mustered up much respect for rivers as a Catholic. seeing him ridicule fans, pile on fellow players, and such is a disappointment. NOT because there should be no passion, emotion, and competition in football, but because those things are completely detached from bad will, disrespect, and taunting. who cares if other pro jocks are defending rivers? this woman sees no redeeming qualities in his actions and her opinion is every bit as valid as eric allen’s–maybe more so because she seems in touch with her faith. what good can come from rivers’ antics? the short answer is: NOTHING. our job as Christians is to educate the igonrant, and philip rivers is wholly ignorant on this point.

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  6. with all do respect, you people are morons. And I do say that with all do respect. Leave the man alone. Like he said he knows who he answers to. people want to look so deep into stuff. he plays football and he talks a big game. he doesnt use profanity and he sticks up for his teammates. wow, what a bad guy? unbelievable. find something better to do with your time.

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  7. We all were blessed with various temperament combinations. It’s quite possible that part of Philip River’s temperament is choleric (choleric-sanguine, perhaps). From the Book “The Temperament God Gave You”:Choleric:Motivational strengths: Highly productive, naturally motivated, and persevering.Weaknesses: Tends to overlook details and can roll over people. Impatient with lack of results. Can be overly confident.Challenges: Needs to take more time to set the right goals and strategize to ensure that prudential decisions are made. Needs to be charitable in dealing with people along his path. Needs to reflect more on the details, and to be more open to good advice from others. (end quote)In other words, the same temperament that his driven Philip to excel to the level of accomplishment that he has at such a young age, is the same one that has yielded your complaints.Is this an excuse? No. We all have strengths from our given temperaments – and we all have natural weaknesses as well. We are to work on minimizing our weaknesses (which is not always an easy thing to do). It is possible, however, to overcome the weak areas of our temperament. St. Therese the Little Flower was, by nature, choleric. Yet, those who new her were surprised because she had done so well overcoming the weaknesses of this very productive and driven temperament.Philip is maybe 26/27 years old. He has time to improve in his weaknesses. But let’s not forget, we ALL have weak spots to address. They may not be the same weaknesses as other’s, but regardless of whether we are Catholic or not, we have them. Just ask St. Paul —- another choleric…..I will agree that since Philip is a public figure who is open about his Catholic Faith, there may be greater impetus and urgency for him to address charity when in the midst of heightened pressure (i.e. during an NFL football game). I’ll pray for Philips successful journey in continuing to become the man God has called him to be. God bless him for speaking out on chastity……….and for being proud to be Catholic.

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  8. Being Catholic doesn’t mean your perfect. All Catholics come short. We go to mass and confession because we are all sinners. Rivers is a human being that is striving for holiness. And that’s all God ask from us. “God doesn’t ask you to succeed; he only ask that you try”- Mother Teresa

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  9. Don't be that Catholic that gets ridiculed.Sure it's great to be well-mannered and follow God, but humans aren't perfect and we should not judge each other on small trivialities such as this.Because it would be hypocritical.In addition, you do not know exactly what he said, and in what context. Please refrain from acting like some kind of savior from heaven, and just live your own life well.

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