Jim Tressel is still a winner in my book

I had the privilege of snapping this photo of Jim Tressel in a shoot back in 2008 while helping put together posters, websites, and other promotional products for The Main Event (a Christian event at OSU where he and a few key players shared their faith with a packed arena). Some of my friends know him much better than I do, and their respect for him says quite a bit to me. His book, The Winner’s Manual, wasn’t a lie. He’s a man that deserves quite a bit of respect, and will always get that from me.

After watching the media turn his life upside down, here are the questions I have after all that’s went down in town the past few days:

  • Why was he pushed to resign before being given the chance to be disciplined by the university or NCAA officials in a few months? Why not teach him a lesson by placing him on probation for a year, rather than kicking him out? Reminds me of Christian schools expelling high school students for being caught with a beer.
  • Do we expect the sports icons in America to live a faultless life, especially if they’re a professed Christian?
  • Shouldn’t we teach the youth of this country to start respecting and admiring athletes that aren’t just talented or that get a side job to pay for their rent or other bills while at school?
  • What kind of position are these players’ parents putting them in by letting them think their athletic career is more important than their work ethics or future beyond sports?
  • Is sports really this important? Is its entertainment value really that high?

I thank God that Jim Tressel is a man of genuine faith. You might think he should be walking the walk he talks about, but if you were put under the microscope he’s under at the moment, I’m sure your filth would look pretty bad too. I sure was looking forward to Beamer vs. Tressel in 2013 here in Columbus, but I’ll continue praying for the future of this great man. This isn’t going to stop him from impacting others in the coming days, I’m sure of that!

  1. Gabe,

    I agree that a man’s sins is not the sum of his make up. But our sins are a part of us. He knew the rules of “the game” and the possible consequences. I feel that if the man cheated and new about the cheating and covered it up until caught, that his leadership should be under severe scrutiny. It happened here in Tucson with Lute Olsen – who was also very well regarded. But, he had to understand the consequence. I am certain Jim (if he is a strong man of faith) will be fine without football….you said it yourself, it’s just entertainment. And, if that is the case, then there are much more important things he will do for the rest of his life, including a silly little thing called football. There was one interesting question you posed: Do we expect the sports icons in America to live a faultless life, especially if they’re a professed Christian? I say yes. To much is given much is expected….that is a biblical standard. If God is trusting you with the lives of youth in particular you need to be above reproach. Period. I think he made the right decision in leaving to be honest. I pray his life will continue to be as a good and faithful servant as he puts this behind him…

    • It’s all about discipline in the end. Even the most respected leaders in the world need disciplined every now and then. I’m not saying he didn’t screw up, that’s a bit obvious. I would have liked to see him asked to step away temporarily and given a second chance. What if we all were held accountable like this, and given one shot without any correction or counseling? I know in the work I do, I’ve been given grace a few times when I didn’t deserve it.

  2. GREAT insight, Gabe. Especially since I know you are a huge VT fan. You are one of the few people I have heard consider this situation from an eternal perspective.

    • Thanks Ali. The way I see it, everything this side of eternity shouldn’t be measured by its “worldly value”. Definitely changes your perspective, but we always have to deal with the issues in life regardless.

  3. I think I’m with you on this Gabe. There’s no question he was wrong. I believe there’s no question there should be a punishment. But I think it would have been great if Ohio State had stuck with him, paid the penalties and gave him another chance to coach there. The original penalties were way too light, but they could have waited for the NCAA to come up with an adequate penalty.

    Can I ask my own question? How many fans would put up with or ignore with a couple of lies and rules violations for a decade of great football?

    • I don’t think people would need to ignore the lies he’s told, but they should give him the chance of turning things around in his life. That’s what I would want if I were in his shoes.

  4. Claudia Porpiglia

    Thank you, Gabe. I have had a number of discussions about all of this over the last couple of months and have been shocked at how quickly people want to point fingers and negate the good Jim has done over the years. I had the privilege of growing up across the street from his family (when he was young) and I know that his father and mother gave him a great value system. Then, in high school, Jim gave his life to the Lord and began a journey that has been amazing to watch. The impact he has had on many of his players will only truly be known when we all reach eternity!

    I believe that if Jim had been given the chance, he would have walked a road of repentance and restoration that would have set a great standard for future incidents. Instead he has had to bow out before being given the chance.

    • Interesting hearing about your past and a glimpse of his earlier years. I’m going to keep praying that he does get that second chance. Confident he’ll be changed by this, but only time will tell.

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