Super Bowl LVI: Team Chaplains Help Nurture Players’ Faith
Both Super Bowl LVI contenders have chaplains on staff who minister to and support players. For Cincinnati, that role is held by Vincent Rey, a former Bengals player. He describes the Bengals as “men of integrity,” adding that football doesn’t define them. “They’re human beings, the crowning creation of God,” says Rey. “I realize that it’s an honor to partner with the Creator of all things. I get to partner with him to put someone’s hand in the hand of Jesus.”
For the Rams, Kevin Nickerson has served as chaplain since 2016. He strives to be available for players, noting that ministry work “is done outside of chapel” during everyday interactions and conversations. Nickerson says he views the athletes not as “members of my church” but rather as “members of my family.”
Faith Leaders: Move the 2023 Super Bowl From Arizona
In other pro football news, faith leaders throughout America are urging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to move next year’s Super Bowl out of Arizona. Citing the efforts of Republican state legislators to overturn the 2020 presidential election and restrict voting rights, they say the league and “corporate America” must take a stand.
More than 200 faith leaders signed a letter to Goodell, requesting that the big game bypass Arizona. That happened in the early ’90s, after the state failed to enact the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. “We’re very hopeful we could see history repeat itself through this” effort, says Raymond Forte, senior pastor of Ebenezer Church in Phoenix. “This is an injustice that must get national attention.”
The NFL has been dealing with several race-related controversies. Last week, former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores sued the league and three teams, alleging racism in hiring practices.