Chicago Bears

Holy ghosts in sports stories? It turns out somebody besides GetReligion has noticed them

Holy ghosts in sports stories? It turns out somebody besides GetReligion has noticed them

Holy ghostbusters!

This certainly is an interesting development.

I just came across a piece recently published by The Ringer, the website founded by sportswriter Bill Simmons. The headline: "NFL Scoops From Heaven." (Thanks to Arthur Freyre for the tip!)

Basic gist of the article: Why a Christianity-focused website got the exclusive when running back Matt Forte decided to retire:

This February, when Matt Forte decided to retire, he could have leaked the news to any NFL insider he wanted. Adam Schefter has the biggest reach. Handing the scoop to a reporter in Chicago, where Forte spent most of his career, would’ve counted as a goodwill gesture. But the reporter Forte settled on had one distinct advantage over the rest: He and Forte had talked about their faith in Christ.
On February 27, Forte called Jason Romano, who writes for a Christian website calledSports Spectrum. “I am a Christian athlete,” Forte told me. “Actually, I’m more Christian than athlete, and I wanted people to realize that first. I felt if I used one of the regular publications that are strictly sports-oriented that they’d leave Jesus’s name out of it.”
Romano prepared the scoop in just the way Forte wanted: with a brief statement and a podcast interview. Then Romano went to bed and hoped the news held. “My honest to God thought was, I hope this doesn’t get leaked to Adam Schefter or any of the guys on the NFL Network,” he said. The next morning, Sports Spectrum published its exclusive. In a competitive season of NFL scoopage, the site was credited by everyone from ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini to the Associated Press.

For years, we at GetReligion have been pointing out the God-sized holes in sports stories (examples here, here, here, here and here). For those new to this journalism-focused website, we refer to such holes as "holy ghosts."

In a 2010 piece for the Wall Street Journal, former GetReligion contributor Sarah Pulliam Bailey — now a national religion writer for the Washington Post — delved into why "God" talk tends to get sidelined in sports media:

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