Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

How Christianity influences Benjamin Watson's worldview

In an interview with CNN, Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson spoke about his faith in Christ and how it influences his views in sports and politics.

“I’m a Christian, and as a Christian, that is who I am,” Watson told CNN. “It’s not just something that kind of goes alongside, so my beliefs as a Christian influence everything that I care about, influence everything that I do. It is not only a code of ethics, but the Bible talks about how we’re transformed inside out so we’re actually a new person. … I am not tied to being a Republican, I am not tied to being a Democrat, I’m not tied to being anything, I’m tied to looking at specific issues on their own merit … ultimately, the truth of the word of God is what I make those decisions based on, and sometimes that’s against what I feel.”

Watson also commented on the anthem protest from Oakland Raiders Marshawn Lynch and Seattle Seahawks Michael Bennett, who sat during the national anthem in protest of the events surrounding Charlottesville, VA.

“It pains me to see people not stand and honor the flag during the anthem,” Watson said. “Even those who are busy talking, taking photos, eating or drinking. I believe every American should desire to stand for our anthem, but sometimes an American decides to use their agency to draw attention to an issue of concern. I support the players who decided to sit because they are not doing so flippantly but because of a sincere conviction. It is their decision. There is more than one way to advocate and be a voice.”

Colin Kaepernick started the protests last year, taking a knee before the beginning of every regular season game. Watson commended Kaepernick because “he exercised his rights, he started a conversation — and for that I applaud him.” But, Watson also mentioned that he wouldn’t have emulated the anthem protest last year and would have stood because, “that’s not my mode of protest.”

With more athletes diving into politics, Watson feels that they should not just “stick to sports,” but use their platforms to help make a difference.

“A lot of times (for athletes), the pushback is stick to your sport, stay out of politics, stay out of religion, stay out of anything controversial, but on the other hand, I say no, Watson said. “Because of your citizenship in this county, because we care about the outcomes that happen, we’re aware of what’s happening — we have a right to express ourselves just as much as anybody else does.”

Benjamin Watson speaks about his story and how he came to faith in Christ in The Increase video below.