Human Interest

Because his mom refused abortion, this Los Angeles Rams player went to the Super Bowl

Marquise Copeland

A player in this weekend’s Super Bowl LVI got a chance at every football player’s dream — and it’s all because his mother chose life despite intense pressure to have an abortion more than two decades ago.

Bradley Mattes of the Life Issues Institute wrote about the previously unknown story of Marquise Copeland, a defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams. According to Mattes, Marquise’s mother Tenisha Copeland faced immense pressure to have an abortion while pregnant with him — but thanks to the help and support of a pro-life ministry, she was empowered to give birth to her son and raise him.

“The pressure she endured from family and friends to abort was so intense, it put her in a state of clinical depression, requiring hospitalization,” Mattes wrote. “When Tenisha came to Open Door, she did so directly from the hospital.”

Open Door is a maternity home in Ohio, founded by Greg and Annie Miller. The Millers created it as a “residential ministry,” with Annie specifically viewing each mother who stayed with them as a spiritual daughter, and the children born to them as her grandchildren. The ministry continued to support the mothers and babies after birth.


“[Copeland] flourished in the positive and nurturing environment of Open Door,” Mattes said. “She learned to trust Jesus and drew close to Him, as well as the staff. In 1997 Annie was there for the delivery of Tenisha’s son, Marquise, and even given the honor of cutting the umbilical cord.”

Years later, Marquise graduated high school with a full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati. There, he excelled at both football and academics.

“He was the first true freshman to start on the varsity squad in 15 years. Of all the schools he could have selected, Marquise wanted to play for a university close enough to his mother so she could drive to games,” Mattes said. “This young man was also a very good student, earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting in less than four years.”

READ: Almost aborted, Grammy winner Alicia Keys’ mom chose life: ‘I am so grateful to her for choosing me’

After graduating from college, Marquise was invited to try out for the Rams, where he was originally made a temporary replacement defensive lineman. But the temporary position became permanent, and he was responsible for an interception that helped the Rams make it to the Super Bowl.

“Tenisha continues to live in the Cleveland area with her daughter Jayla and will be cheering her son on as he plays in the most important game of his football career,” Mattes concluded. “The world is full of shining examples like Marquise. People who were written off as worthless lives with no potential. They are living testimonies – some more high profile than others – that God has a special plan for each and every child conceived, regardless of the circumstances.”

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