The Vatican has reached out to Christian sports stars Jeremy Lin, left, and Tim Tebow, right, to join them at a spring conference designed to speak about bringing morals and values back to sports. (Photo : Reuters)
With the recent scandals that have been plaguing the world of pro sports, the Vatican is turning to two of sports' most prominent Christians, Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow, to help bring ethics back to athletics.
Catholic News Service reported Thursday that Catholic Church officials have reached out to basketball star Lin and NFL quarterback Tebow and invited them to be a part of an international conference this spring where the topic would be how to bring back moral values into the sports world.
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The Vatican is hoping that officials from FIFA--the International Federation of Association Football--Italy's Olympic Committee, and the International Cycling Union will also attend. Lin and Tebow's attendance would mean representation from the NBA and the NFL.
Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca Alameda, head of the "Culture and Sport" section of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, said sports has become too focused on turning athletes into merchandise, which puts pressure on athletes to engage in unethical behavior.
As an example, Msgr. de Toca Alameda pointed to the recent admission by cycling legend Lance Armstrong that he had engaged in "doping" through his career.
"We want to work with the big sports bodies to give new value to sports," the monsignor said of the goal of the conference, titled "We Believe in Sports."
"...If the current state of affairs continues, all is lost," de Toca Alameda said of the current state of the sports world.
In the last year, Tebow and Lin have risen to prominence almost overnight, each one's stories mirroring each other.
Lin, who struggled before coming to New York, rose overnight to global superstar fame during an unlikely and remarkable stretch of play where he became a starter through the mid-season of 2011-12 that helped the Knicks become a playoff team. Lin is known for being open about his Christian life and values.
Tebow, a substitute who filled in for injured starting quarterback Kyle Orton on the Denver Broncos last season, led the struggling Broncos to the AFC West title and a playoff victory.
Tebow gained nationwide attention thanks to his touchdown celebration of running into the end zone and kneeling down in prayer. Several high school football players on Long Island were suspended last season for mimicking Tebow's famous touchdown celebration.