Foster: Lions’ Quin caught in trap of religion, sports

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Lions safety Glover Quin is not a moron or an idiot. He is not evil or mean-spirited.

He simply believes that God controls all, even on the football field.

I disagree with him, but support his right to speak it and believe it. Quin did not wish ill will on injured Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who was lost for the season with a non-contact knee injury in an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Quin spent the better part Monday saying he felt bad that Nelson was injured and that he wants to compete against the Packers at full strength. His mistake was one little passage where he said, “... God meant for Jordy to get hurt.”

That is where people from around the league pounced on him. Their interpretation is God waved a magic wand at Nelson and popped him with an injury. What Quin meant was that we are all under God’s control. He did not do a good job of explaining that Monday. He did a better job Tuesday.

“People ask me all the time you only missed one game in your career,” Quin said. “How did you do that? The first thing I say I have been blessed. I have been lucky, extremely lucky. There are a lot of guys in this game that get hurt. I don’t know why I have been lucky but I have been blessed and the person I believe that blessed me to stay healthy is my God.”

Here is the trap Quin fell into. Many are weary of athletes who say God won a title for them, won a game for them. Why does God care if the St. Louis Rams beat the New York Giants? There are so many bigger things in life than a football or baseball game.

We talk about separation between church and state. There are many who want separation between church and sport.

I actually don’t mind when a guy says “God gave him the strength to compete.” That is fine. But there seems to be arrogance and entitlement when players say God helped them win. There were certainly just as many players of faith on the other side that lost.

So why punish them? And why punish the Lions who are one of a handful of teams to never compete in a Super Bowl.

“God is so much bigger than football,” Quin said. “Who knows what lessons we learn from winning. Who knows how much our faith or strength grows from an injury. When you are injured and not with the team you have to spend a lot of time praying. You find some strength to go through rehab. Someone has to help you go through surgery. There is a lot that comes through injury. When you win there is a lot that comes with that. You bond as a team. You go through a lot. It is not that God wants me to win. It is what you learn from that. How did you grow spiritually? How did you learn?”

Quin never expected his initial comments to grow into a firestorm. But they did. He is hated in Green Bay. Brian Baumgartner, who played Kevin Malone on “The Office” called Quin a moron on Twitter.

He is wrong. Quin is actually one of the most thoughtful and introspective athletes in Lions history. He simply believes that God guides us and Nelson falls under an umbrella of faith that he believes in.

Does that make him a moron?


But religion and athletes is sometimes a volatile mix. Look at how much gruff Tim Tebow took because many believed he forced his faith on the public. Quarterback Jon Kitna was a respected but sometimes controversial figure because he pushed religion when he quarterbacked the Lions.

“I don’t see what gives someone the right to call me a moron or idiot because of what I said,” Quin said. “If he feels I am a moron or idiot that is fine.”

Quin knows he might be the next one injured. And he will believe that also is God’s will.

And I am sure Quin will say it if it happens.