Why Aren’t We Celebrating Philip Rivers?

Maybe you’ve been caught up in Tebow-mania. Catholic media sure has. In fact just taking a search poll for the term “Tim Tebow” on National Catholic Register brings up…31,000+ results. No joke. At the same site searching for Philip Rivers, the devout Catholic quarterback for the San Diego Chargers and married father of six, brings up a paltry 129 results. Some of them are comments on other articles.

Why are Catholics jumping on the Tebow bandwagon while not celebrating one of our own who has had NFL success and is an excellent role model of professionalism, fatherhood (he missed Pro-Bowl in 2010 for the birth of his fifth child, daughter Sarah), and a servant of the least of these? Is it because Rivers practices his faith more privately and isn’t sporting Rosary beads on the sideline? Is it because his draft class included Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger? Is it because it’s just not cool to talk about someone who is not  drawing in secular headlines?

Seriously. I’d be interested to know.

But here’s something you SHOULD know. Philip and his wife Tiffany, whom he married in 2001 while he was a student-athlete at North Carolina State University and is his junior-high school sweetheart, started an organization called Rivers of Hope Foundation. The mission as stated on Rivers’ website is this: To help unwanted, abandoned and orphaned children find permanent loving homes and their own sense of self-worth by developing and coordinating resources and programs to create community awareness, recruit adoptive families, provide financial aid for adoption and assistance for foster children and orphans. With as much ado as was made about Tebow’s pro-life ad during the Super Bowl a couple of years back, why is Catholic media not as fired up about this organization? An organization that is as pro-life as they come. Not only does it have the potential to help prevent abortions by allowing women and couples to know there are organizations out there that want to help them find families for children they feel they may not be able to raise, it pushes it one step further by helping the children who are unwanted, who are the least of these, to find forever families. And it is for this organization that Rivers is one of three finalists this  year for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. As past winners Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason said during today’s play-off game it is the highest award given to any NFL player not for the player he is on the field but for the man he is off of it.

AND, here is something else we can find to be proud of Rivers for. He speaks to youth around our nation about the importance of spirituality and chastity.  Watch some of those videos on that link. Rivers has stated publicly:  “I feel fortunate that I have the physical and mental tools to play the game …. In turn I would like to use the popularity I have and have been given for the glory of God, to share with young people about how to be a better person – how to do things the right way.” He has the priorities and he puts his money where his mouth is.

And in one of those 129 links on NCR is this interview given a little over a week ago, in which he proudly says, “Once I’ve received the Eucharist, then I’m prepared to go out and play.”

And in response to the Tim Tebow hoopla he has this to say, “I’ve been public about my beliefs, as well, but not in as vocal or persistent a manner. Everyone has a different way of expressing themselves, and Tim has his own way, too.” In other words, there is no one way to praise God that trumps all the others. Nothing is wrong with what Tebow is doing, but we need to recognize what Rivers is doing.

Click over to the article, you will be happy, you will be uplifted, you will be amazed. And you will want to celebrate Philip Rivers as much as I do.

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