Dear Josh,

I'm writing to thank you for your reaction to the events of last week—namely your comments in the wake of those, er, compromising pictures of you that surfaced on Deadspin.com.

In the midst of a summer of stories about one NFL player shooting himself in the thigh, another taking a life while driving intoxicated, a former NFL star leaving the joint after serving two years for dog fighting, and many of your baseball colleagues going down amid steroid-related allegations, your indiscretion seems, by comparison, tame (though a breach of marital trust is still a big deal—more on that later). Your biggest mistake seems to have been Partying While Christian.

The fact that you have been outspoken about your faith drew the ire of the snark-slinging Deadspin.com fraternity. Let me say this—neither of us are even remotely cool enough to begin to comment on anything that happens on Deadspin.com, which has become something of a sarcastic haven for Too Cool for School sports fans. In their mind you're hopelessly hypocritical and I'm an even worse monster—a conservative, church-loving fundamentalist Christian; I'm Ned Flanders with a press pass. They're seeing blood in the water (you) and doing what they're paid to do, which is rip you to shreds.

Anyway. Back to Partying While Christian. What the Deadspin crowd fails to appreciate about your situation is that in its aftermath, you demonstrated Christian virtues of humility and repentance. Your willingness to atone publicly for your sins, acknowledging what you did wrong and a desire to change, sets a great example for sports fans everywhere—Christian or not. In an era when PR-department-generated "sports apologies" usually range from lying, at worst, ...

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Play Ball
From 2005 to 2007, "Play Ball" examined the relationship of sports and faith: sports is important precisely because it is a form of play, that is, a manifestation of the Sabbath. Contributors included Mark Galli, Collin Hansen, Mark Moring, and others.
Previous Play Ball Columns:
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Christianity Today
An Open Letter to Josh Hamilton
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