You want to watch some sports, you’re eager to relax and yet an awkward ethical issue confronts you. The power forward is a deadbeat dad. The hometown hero bet on his games. The boxer with the quicksilver footwork abuses women.
Floyd Mayweather, fighting Manny Pacquaio tonight, has come under the spotlight for his alleged mistreatment of women. He has been accused of punching a woman in the head and smashing a former flame’s skull with a car door, just two of several instances of alleged abuse on the fighter’s part. Fallen foes trail behind Mayweather, but they’re not wearing boxing shorts. They are the mothers of his children.
Mayweather’s past unsettles many Christians because of biblical teachings. The Apostle Paul tells husbands, for example, to love their wives “as their own bodies.” Men are intended to use their strength on behalf of women, never against them.
So should you watch Mayweather box? As a Christian theologian, I cannot say it is wrong, biblically or otherwise, to watch a fighter because he has moral failings.
If you only want to be amused by moral standouts, good luck finding an athlete who qualifies. But fandom—muse on that word for a moment—pushes even the categories of the morally narcoleptic in this fight. Mayweather makes his living by his fists, and he is accused of using them in his off-hours, too.
We could find it tempting to rush into the moral gray zone on these kind of matters. Boxing offers complexities. Should we watch and perhaps support extreme violence? Is Pacquaio’s involvement necessarily praiseworthy because he professes Christianity? Some seem to think so. I’m not convinced.
The Christian moral tradition has felt considerable conflict over high-contact sports like boxing. The Roman gladiatorial games ceased in part because of Christian protest; so too with dueling in America in the 19th century.
It is clear we must consider what limits we might tolerate in our stars. Would 20 women bruised and bleeding at the hands of a celebrity make us click off the TV? 30?
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SOURCE: The Washington Post – Owen Strachan