I am old enough to remember “Neon Deion” Sanders from his days as one of the most dynamic and entertaining players in the NFL. He was all about himself, his abilities, and his fame. He could out-talk and out-strut most anyone and then go play with the best in football. But after his NFL playing days, he made a commitment to the Lord. This became evident in how he conducted himself as a college football coach. Recently he was hired as the new football coach for the University of Colorado. One of his first moves was to put his squad on notice.
“One thing I don’t condone is disrespect to a woman,” he told his new team, which was assembled in a theater on the Boulder campus. Standing before a line of female students, the new coach was blunt with his team. “So when you pass by these beautiful young women, I don’t know if they grace you to call them by their name or their title,” he told them. “You find out. Be courteous, be gracious, and be polite.”
“If there’s any dysfunction, obstruction with your girlfriend, fiancée, or whoever, with any abuse, that’s it, it’s over,” Sanders told the team. “Don’t call me, don’t have your momma call me, don’t call Rick (Colorado’s Athletic Director). It’s a wrap. You understand that? [We’re] gonna respect our women wholeheartedly.” It’s inevitable that Deion Sanders’ standards and policies will be put to the test. But the coach once said, “Whenever you make a promise, you have a responsibility to that promise.”
I admire the coach for what he started to institute as he began his coaching tenure at Colorado. I hope that he can be a “father” figure to his players. It will be quite a task to corral and shepherd hormonally charged young men, who live in a sensually charged culture, with 24-hour access to pornography, and with young college woman who want to date a football player.
Most of all I admire “Neon-Deion” for being willing to swim against the stream of contemporary culture. When it comes to sex, we have Paul’s understanding of how we lose touch with reality. “They’re lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion” (Eph. 4: 18-19 – Message).
I can almost hear the coach talking with his team of young males, “Listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path. For she has been the ruin of many; numerous men have been her victims. Her house is the road to the grave. Her bedroom is the den of death” (Prov. 7:24-27). These are strong and direct words that need to be told to young men with a “tiger in their tank.”
For all the men reading this blog, this comes as a reminder: 1) Admit you have a “tiger in your tank.” Don’t fool yourself and those near you. 2) Admit you need God to cleanse your soul, and to give you a deep desire to know Him. 3) Set an example as a man who has eyes only for his wife. Beware of the “roaming eye.”
Paul gives us this advice: “Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity. Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God” (I Thess. 4:3-5 – Message). Find a brother to talk with about your tiger.