Penn State wrestler Aaron Brooks is under fire for comments he made after a recent match. While Brooks clearly expressed his faith in Jesus, something that is not entirely uncommon for Christian athletes, Brooks raised eyebrows with his offhand criticism of Islam.
Brooks’ comments came after his win over Northern Iowa’s Parker Keckeisen, which secured Brooks his third consecutive individual NCAA title.
During the post match interview, Brooks, 22, was asked how his faith helps him “on a night like tonight.”
“It’s everything. Christ’s resurrection is everything,” Brooks responded. “Not just his life, but his death and resurrection. You can only get that through him—the Holy Spirit only through him.”
“No false prophets. No Muhammad. No anyone else. Only Jesus Christ himself,” Brooks added.
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Muhammad, a religious leader in the sixth and seventh centuries, is known as the founder of the religion of Islam.
“[It’s] the Holy Spirit,” Brooks went on to reiterate. “Acts 1:8—power, Holy Spirit power. It’s everything. That’s where it’s from.”
When asked about where his finesse comes from, Brooks said, “Holy Spirit as well…All God.”
“I’m blessed,” Brooks said in reference to the fact that he has earn three consecutive NCAA titles. “God used me. He gives me this platform for this right here: to exalt him. So that’s all it’s for. When I’m suffering, cutting weight…away from my family, it’s all for him. So it’s all for his glory.”
The NCAA soon came under fire for tweeting a video of the interview, as did Brooks. The criticism seemed to center not on Brooks’ affirmation of Christianity but his remark about Islam’s founder.
“The remark #AaronBrooks made about #ProphetMuhammad (PBUH) was both completely unnecessary and arguably a sign of insecurity,” one person tweeted. “Perhaps he knows that #Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, including in the Black community.”
Another tweeted, “FunFact: you can practice your faith without sounding like [a] bigot and dragging someone else’s faith so disrespectfully. Absolutely uncalled for, BRAZEN #islamophobia.”
The NCAA subsequently deleted the tweet of the interview, which led to a second wave of criticism from those who found no issue with what Brooks said.
“It’s sad to think @NCAAWrestling deleted Aaron brooks post match interview because he gave all the glory to God after winning Saturday night because it triggered others. SAD,” tweeted fellow college wrestler Zay Holmes.
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Others reposted the video of Brooks’ interview, including conservative commentator Steven Crowder, who said, “Some people got triggered by this…”