I’ll admit I’m not a football fan. It’s not that I have anything against the game; I sadly just don’t understand it. However, I, like many Americans, will watch the Super Bowl as long as I can eat finger foods and chili. Yet even I became an overnight fan of retired Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk when I heard why he declined a White house event celebrating the Ravens Super Bowl win.
The Ravens were invited to take a tour of the White house and meet President Obama this past Wednesday. It’s a big honor for most athletes – a time to shake hands with the president and take pictures.
Birk is a committed Catholic who unashamedly stands for the pro-life cause. Birk told the Power Trip Morning Show on KFAN in Minneapolis, Minn. that he declined the invitation because of President Obama’s support of abortion. Birk said: “I would say this: I would say that I have great respect for the office of the presidency, but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech, and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’” Birk continued, “Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year. I am Catholic. I am active in the pro-life movement, and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”
Way to go, Matt! Abortion is often seen as a women’s issue. Men are silenced by liberal feminist ideas that tell them they have no say when it comes to a woman’s body or choice. But men do have a right to speak out against abortion. It’s a great injustice that affects humanity, regardless of your gender. Matt’s boldness to speak out against abortion as a man is encouraging.
Jay Busbee is a writer and columnist for Yahoo! Sports. He said this about Matt Birk’s decision, “Birk may draw some heat for his decision, but regardless of your political persuasion, you have to respect him for standing up for his beliefs. Visiting the White House is, for most, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; credit to Birk for standing firm for his faith.” It seems like Birk’s brave choice is already drawing respect from men in his sphere of influence.
NBC sports writer Mike Florio is also a Catholic man who doesn’t believe in abortion. Although he seems to understand Matt’s views, he doesn’t completely support this decision. Mike shared his thoughts in a recent article:
So if traveling to the White House with a Super Bowl championship-winning football team “endorses” abortion, doesn’t living in a country that allows abortions to happen do the same thing? While we respect Birk for sticking to his beliefs, it’s a shame that he would deny himself the once-in-a-lifetime experience of visiting the White House with his former teammates.
I have to disagree with Mike Florio. Yes, getting invited to the White House is an honor and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However, it’s not a shame that Birk missed a White House visit. It’s a shame that our government supports the abortion industry which has led to the death of over 55 million children since 1973. It’s a shame that our president, an African-American man, doesn’t speak out against abortion, the number-one killer of black Americans. It’s a shame that our society is more concerned with sports and professional athletes than it is with defending and protecting the most vulnerable among us.
Matt Birk is a brave man who made a courageous choice. I pray that it inspires other athletes and men to speak out against abortion.