E66 - Jason Romano, the ESPN sports broadcaster
E66 - Jason Romano, the ESPN sports broadcaster

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Jason Romano is the Director of Media with Sports Spectrum and the host of the popular Sports Spectrum Podcast – probably the most popular sports and faith podcast and blog globally.

For 17 years, he was an Emmy-Award winning Producer and Senior Manager at ESPN. He has created and produced content for shows such as SportsCenter, NFL LIVE, Mike and Mike in the Morning, Sunday NFL Countdown, College Gameday, Outside the Lines, MLB’s All Star Game and many more.

Listen for how Jason's reflections on thousands of conversations with top-level Christian athletes across many different sports.

0:00 Intro and Jason's bio
2:55 How did you get into sports broadcasting
6:23 How did faith fit with a career in broadcasting at ESPN?
10:53 How did you see sport and faith fitting together specifically?
15:06 How hard was it to leave ESPN to work for Sports Spectrum?
21:35 What do pro-athletes say when they speak of their faith?
26:33 Is it becoming more acceptable to speak about faith for elite athletes now?
31:08 What are your thoughts on the public witness of pro athletes on social media?
36:01 How should we view Christian professional athletes with large public profiles?
37:01 Outro


Transcript generated by AI - A more accurate version will be available soon

Jonny Reid: Great. Well, I'm really excited to be joined by, Jason Romano, to chat about something very related to what we've talked about a lot of the time in our podcast, but slightly different, slightly more focus, maybe around, been around sports broadcasting. I know a number of people listening in are involved in that kind of feel or wanting to get into it.

but then more broadly around Tyler, Jason over in America is reflecting on, Christian speaking up their sport in my faith in particularly in the public square, chatting to a lot of Somali athletes in America about how their sport methods connect. So I'm excited to dive into this conversation. Jason, welcome to The Christians in Sport podcast. It's great to have you with us.

Jason Romano: Yeah, Jonny, it's good to see you. Thanks for inviting me back on the show and excited to be here.

Jonny Reid: Great. Well, let's let's start with your story of how you got into sports broadcasting. We'll get to where you are now, but, 17 years working at ESPN. I think even those of us in the UK will will understand how massive ESPN is as a kind of sports broadcasting brand. how did you get into sports broadcasting?

Jason Romano: Yeah, as a kid, I mean, most kids who are working in or play sports just love sports. As a kid. That's usually something that resonates with them from a very young age. That was the case for me. my grandfather love sports. My dad, his son loves sports. And I think I just kind of followed in their footsteps when we were kids watching games.

My earliest memories of watching are my earliest memories of really anything. Are watching sports with my with my dad and with my grandfather at six, seven years old. So that was always kind of in my blood. I played sports throughout, you know, grade school and into middle school and high school. and I was okay, you know, I was never really driven, and had this desire to be, like, an elite athlete.

I just kind of hoped it would happen, but I love playing. And I think what I realized in high school that I wasn't going to be a professional athlete, the next best thing was, okay, what do you want to do for a job? And I, I immediately gravitated towards broadcasting. I love watching games and just watching the call of the game, particularly football and basketball.

And those were I mean, baseball too, I guess, really, because I love those three sports the most as a kid. And when I got to college, when I started to thinking about where I was going to go, I looked for broadcasting school, schools that had, you know, good broadcasting programs, where I could learn and never dream that I would end up at ESPN.

it was a dream job, per se, but it wasn't a dream because I always thought it was too far, too far out to even attain. So, you know, when I was in, you know, college, I think my, my dream job, per se, was to be the sports anchor in the local news, in Albany, New York, in the US here where I grew up.

That would have been amazing to to go there and be that guy. but, you know, by God's grace and many other breaks in my life, I ended up at ESPN. But that's really where it started. And I. I fine tuned my craft, if you will. I was I was pretty raw, Johnny, and I was pretty bad, in college.

I've listened to some of those tapes and there there's a yeah, they're not they're not the best. But that's what college is for, right. To just get experience and learn. And, you know, I got my first job in broadcasting right out of college at a local radio station in New York. And just soaked it all in, and really learned a ton.

But it wasn't sports. It was news talk. And I was working on a morning show with a guy who'd been on radio for 35 years. And so I was with a legend in the, in the local area. And he talk about, you know, kind of baptism by fire like, that was amazing to learn from this guy, for a couple of years and just kind of fall under his, his tutelage.

And he was great. Like, he's no longer with us. He passed away probably about a decade ago. His name was Don weeks. But I learned so much from Don, and that really set me up for the ESPN job. And when I got that, in 2000, it kind of just blew my mind. Like, am I really working here?

And I got to do everything that I had hoped, you know, to work in sports, to work in broadcasting and media. And that career took off from there.

Jonny Reid: And, at that stage, let's talk about your faith, where you you following Jesus at that point and and if so, how we how is that we the it's how are you reflecting on being a Christian in the industry of sports broadcasting?

Jason Romano: Yeah. As a kid, I went to church. I went to Saint Patrick's Church in Ravenna in New York. which is a Catholic church. And, you know, my grandfather went there, my dad went there. I was Christian there. I got baptized as a baby. I got, you know, my first communion, all the things that you do in Catholic Church, which is which is fine and great, but I really would say I didn't.

I wasn't forced into it. I just kind of went because, you know, my parents kind of told me to, but I wasn't forced into you got to believe this, or you have to believe that, or you have to go to church and, you know, you got to get saved. I didn't have a family who really lived out faith outside of church on Sunday mornings, and even that wasn't every single week.

you know, my God, when I was a kid, and even as an adult in, in my early years of being an adult was with sports, and that's what I cared about. so I went to church. I remember getting my, my, my confirmation when I was 15 years old. And after that, I pretty much made a decision, like, I'm done with church.

I don't really care about it. And I laughed. I mean, I wouldn't say I walked away from God. I just don't even know if I fully ever believed in God. I'd heard about him, you know, I'd heard about Jesus. I knew who Jesus was. I knew of him. I knew about Noah's Ark and Moses and the Ten Commandments.

But I'd never really read the Bible or cared about understanding salvation or faith or the cross or anything like that. And then it you know, even when I got the job at ESPN, by that time, you know, I'm married to my wife, Dawn, I'm 26 years old, and I still hadn't really started following Christ. And it was a year later, so very early in my ESPN journey, when my brother Christopher, Chris introduced me to Christ and, you know, I tell people all the time when I'm asked about my testimony that that changed my life forever because it obviously it changed my, my security in heaven with Christ, which was the most important thing.

But the trajectory that I started to go on, I always say, it's my brother's fault, Johnny. It's his fault. Because if he doesn't bring me to the back bedroom of his house on Mother's Day, May 13th, 2001, and sit me down and say, hey, do you want to know about Christ? I don't know if I was fully ready, but when your brother asks you a question like that and it was two years after two plus years after he had started following Jesus, I said, sure, like I saw what he had.

He had a good marriage. He's a really good dad to his baby boy, Sam. And I thought, I'm interested. Yeah. If this is going to if I if there's some of that in store for me, let me hear more about it. And he told me about Jesus and I accepted Christ. I prayed the prayer of salvation. I would say, though I really didn't truly know what I was saying yes to him.

I don't know if I would have been in heaven that night if I had died. I hope so, but I don't know, because I really don't think I grasped or understood what I was saying yes to. I just know that my heart was open and whenever I share this, I tell people, listen, you don't have to have it all figured out.

And I know some people that will spend years researching the Bible, researching the the, the validity of Jesus and who he was. And then they make their decision totally fine. But for me, I just had to have a heart that was open for Christ. And that happened that day. And that's where I said yes and began the journey.

No. It took me about nine months until I truly understood who Jesus was. A lot of watching sermons, reading the Bible, going to church. I got baptized about a year and a half later, and when I this journey that I'm still on today and, you know, you asked about work and faith and sports and, you know, for many years I just kind of kept those separate.

But eventually I started to understand that my faith wasn't just like a side piece, a little, a little thing I do on Sundays. My faith was everything, and it went with me everywhere I go, including ESPN.

Jonny Reid: And what was what? What was the point then? Maybe when you started to think, actually, sport and faith really can fit together into something that.

Jason Romano: Yeah, I think I remember being, you know, like in high school or college and hearing about these religious athletes, you know, the guys like Reggie White in the NFL. you know, he was called the minister of defense like he was a religious guy. And David Robinson, who was a basketball player with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA, I knew that they were kind of devout followers of Christ.

And, you know, they would thank God or give glory to Jesus after a win. But I just kind of chuckled at that, like, what? Is that right? And then as I became a Christian, I started to pay a little bit more attention to it. And to be honest with you, Johnny, the company I work for in our sports spectrum, they played a big role in me understanding that sports and faith could coexist, because I think I discovered sports Spectrum while I was at ESPN around the time of Tim Tebow making his mark into football, Tim Tebow was very open about his faith.

He would wear eye black with, you know, Bible verses on it. John 316, on his eye black. He would pray. And he had this thing called Tebow swing, which was praying on the field, and they called it Tebow, which was so funny. and as that was happening around the same time, was what I was introduced to Sports Spectrum, and I had met a couple of guys who work there, and they sent me their magazine, and I started to look at them like, oh my gosh, there's a, there's a, there's a place where athletes can share their story about Jesus.

And I just followed along for three or 4 or 5 years, but that's really where I started to understand that this could be a place that can that can be used as a ministry field, if you will. and that's where I started with my journey of realizing at ESPN that I could be a light for Christ at ESPN.

And that doesn't mean, you know, preaching to people every day about Jesus. I think what it meant more was I could live out my faith by the way that I loved people, by the way that I served, by the way that I spoke my language, my demeanor like I could represent Christ everywhere I went, including ESPN. And I started to see athletes in that light, too.

If they could represent Christ in their sport, their sphere of influence. And I really was interested more in that. I remember meeting a football player named David Tyree, who is with the New York Giants in the NFL now. He he caught one of the most famous touchdowns, or I should say, catches in Super Bowl history called the helmet catch.

And if you're a football fan in the in America, you know about that catch. And David gave all glory to God. He came to ESPN and I spent a day with him, and I watched him talk about God like he was his best friend. In the same vein, in the same sentences as he would talk about football. And I just kind of smiled.

I thought, that's awesome. And the same thing with coach Tony Dungy, who was a legendary NFL coach and broadcaster. Now, and he would come to ESPN and I'd spend the day with him and see him do the same thing, like talk with a gentle spirit, making sure that Christ was involved in all of what he was sharing. It was awesome to see.

And that's where I really started to notice, Johnny, that sports and faith like there's a, there's a there's something here and that's what I started to do more research and it was like four more years until I eventually left to go to Sports Spectrum. But I became really fascinated with athletes who recognized the platform that they had and then said, you know what?

I can point to me or I can point to Christ, and they would choose to point to Jesus. And that always was something I was very fascinated by and very encouraged by, like, oh, wait a minute here. It doesn't matter where you are, what you're doing. I can give glory to God in all circumstances like it talks about in In God's Word.

So pretty cool, pretty cool stuff to see. And I think it was definitely something that, I became more and more interested in, as I continue down my journey at ESPN.

Jonny Reid: What was it an easy decision then, to to move to sports spectrum? So 17 years at ESPN and then and then God called you into a different direction to talk to us about that decision.

Jason Romano: Yeah, it wasn't easy, I would say, because when you have the security of being at a place a long time that a lot of people know about that's owned by Disney. So like a big corporation, there's a lot of security in that. you're paid really well. You know, the resources that are available, are available there that might not be available at most other places.

I'll even say the coolness factor, which is weird to say, but there was a bit of that. So, hey, I work at ESPN. Oh, that's like cool, man. What do you do? Like, there was a lot of people that were interested in my work, so all of that to say, in 2015 I was introduced to Pro Athletes Outreach POW, which is a ministry that you know about, that maybe a lot of others do not.

That is exactly what it is. It's a it's a ministry that that serves professional athletes in America, and helps them grow in their walk with Jesus. And that became something that was really intriguing to me, like, wait a minute, there's conferences and there's these events and in these opportunities for these athletes to get to know Christ more, that's amazing to me.

When I was introduced to that, their founder, Steve Stenson, I should say there, President Steve Sandstrom, and I started talking and I had felt this nudge or this urge from God. At least I thought it was from God in my spirit to do more for him. Though I didn't know that meant leaving ESPN. I just meant I just knew that it meant ministry on some level to do more for him.

And it could have meant doing it at my church here in Connecticut. So I talked to Steve, and that's 2015. I didn't leave until 2017. So this was a couple year process. And ultimately it was presented to me by Steve that Pro Athletes Outreach had acquired Sports Spectrum. Right. Full circle here. And we need some people, particularly you, because he pointed me out to help run Sports Spectrum.

What do you think? And I was very interested because I thought at that stage of my life, which was about 42 years of age, half time of life, if you will, now's the time to make it, to make a change. If I'm ever going to do it. But my wife, who was a little skeptical at first, you know, prayed with me and I told her, I said, listen, I believe this is from God.

Like, this isn't just something I want, because if it was something I wanted, it would be more money, be more comfort. I probably wouldn't even have left ESPN. But I said, I think this is from God because I think he does his best work when we're uncomfortable. And I was uncomfortable. And so I told my wife, I think this is from the Lord.

If it is, I got to say yes to it. If it's not, God will make that clear pretty quickly. Probably if I make this decision to say yes and it's not from God, I'll probably end up back at ESPN or it'll fall apart. And I can tell you now, it's been seven plus years that, it it's worked.

clearly, I think it was from God. And he has blown my mind the Lord on what he's allowed me to be a part of and to steward and to interview people and to do things that I dreamed about in college that I never got to do at ESPN. And now I'm doing it, but I'm doing it for a greater purpose.

Like, it's not even about me. It's about the Lord. And pointing people to him would.

Jonny Reid: Tell us a bit more about sports medicine than it's worth. It's a bit of a bit of context. It's, to help us in the UK understand, what you guys are doing. the impact of it. it'd be, it'd be different to what we're probably saying him UK so it'd be great to hear more about what's going on.

Jason Romano: Yeah. So it's it's in essence it's a media company. Right. And it started in 1985 like a long time ago. It's almost 40 years. And their goal back then was to start a media magazine and some sort of TV show at the time to integrate faith, sports and family. That was kind of the motto. And a couple of years later they changed their name.

Initially it was it was, Sport Focus was what they called it, and they changed the name to Sports Spectrum in 19. I want to say it was 89 or 90. And so it's been sports spectrum for 35 years, in essence. And what they've wanted to do was just bring Jesus in sports conversation. You know, they want to highlight those stories of athletes and others in the world of sports that are walking with Christ.

And, you know, there was a radio show in the 90s that was pretty successful called Sports Spectrum. they have a magazine that started way back when that still in existence. Now that we continue, and it's really just a media outlet, but we tell the stories of sports that aren't normally heard because they're the stories of faith in sports.

And so when I came on board in 2017, we were really focused on kind of the digital side and taking it to the next level on what that can look like. So they they tasked me to start a podcast and to host the podcast and produce it and edit it. And so that's still what I do to this day, is I host the Sports Spectrum podcast.

And, you know, that thing's been seven, seven years and 1400 episodes. Like, it's just insane the amount of conversations we've had. But my goodness, am I blessed to be able to be a part of that.

Jonny Reid: But that's reflected on some of the interviews you've done. So with elite athletes, with coaches. what are maybe some of the golden threads you see coming out about how they connect their sport and faith? What are some of the lessons you've learned as you've been interviewing them?

Jason Romano: Yeah, I think the biggest common thread is this idea of identity. And I know you know this to talk talking and working with athletes in the UK and around the world really is every single athlete and coach that I've ever talked to has struggled with their identity because so much. And I struggled with this, to being at ESPN, so much of what the world would perceive about us is connected to our jobs or what we do.

So for me, I mean, I had people in church calling me Mr. ESPN. There's 5000 people that work at ESPN, but because I was one that they knew they were calling me Mr. ESPN. So suddenly my identity is going to fall into play because people are calling me by the job that I have. And it was the same with with athletes, right?

Like they play sports. So if you're a legendary soccer player or football player, they're going to know you as that before. They're going to know you as anything else. And if you're an athlete, you get caught up in that. You get caught up in approval, you get caught up in, especially in social media with the likes in the comments.

You get caught up in achievement. How good are you? Are you doing well enough? And then when you're not doing well, how does that affect you? And the greatest of great athletes all want to win. They're the elite competitors, but their identity in Christ is what I've found is the biggest battle. But it's also the biggest assurance that they can know when they grasp it, because some of them don't grasp it right away.

But when they can get that, they can understand that if Jesus is telling me I am his, you know, I'm a child of God. I am a follower of Jesus. That's where your identity should be wrapped up in. So all of these other things are temporary and earthly. And Jesus says, focus on eternal things, you know, not temporal things.

And I think when you think about that, that is the common thread, Johnny, because these athletes who do battle with identity, when they find their worth and their value in Christ, it changes things. You know, I remember talking, we might talk about the super Bowl, but I just talked to a guy named Brock Purdy, quarterback, San Francisco, 40 Niners.

Listen to how he talks and you can see how his identity is in Christ because he's even said, listen, I love football. I want to win the Super Bowl. I want to play great. But if I let that define me, that's going to be taken away someday. It might even be taken away this year, which I don't think it's going to.

But his mindset was nothing is promised in this world of football and sports, but what is promised is security and eternal salvation in Jesus. And so that's where he wants to wrap his identity around. And when you listen to him talk, you can hear that oozing from you can hear the Holy Spirit speaking through Brock. And it's just wonderful to see.

So I think that's a very that's a very common thread. and I also say, you know, it's it's really interesting. And you might have had this too. When we talk to athletes and coaches, the most important thing in their lives, they would all probably say is their faith is their belief in Jesus. And they never get asked about it.

They might work it into a conversation, but they never get asked about it. So what I say, hey, I would like to invite you on our show and ask you about Jesus. Most of them, maybe not all of them, but most of them light up and say, wait a minute, you want to ask me about the most important thing in my life that I never get to talk about?

Amen. And so that's a real treat for me to be able to provide a platform for these athletes and coaches and others to talk about Jesus or to ask them about Jesus. When I asked one of the guys on the Chiefs at the Super Bowl about his faith, he thanked me at the back end of the interview. He goes, thank you so much.

That meant so much that you asked me about this part of my life. And I really just reminds me, after seven years of doing this, now that there's so many guys out there who are faithful, who love the Lord, and who would say Jesus is the most important thing in their life, and they never get to talk about it.

And that's what we want to continue to do, is provide that platform.

Jonny Reid: You know, you just you mentioned the Super Bowl there. and it seemed particularly this year, I don't know whether that's true or not. It seemed a lot of your content seemed to be resonating. Maybe it's social media algorithms. Yeah, that's a reason for that. But maybe as you're reflecting on my last seven years, has there been a shift in a, an awareness of athletes wanting to speak about their faith in a, in a people being supportive of that?

Has there been a shift in that? What why has it been resonating more this year than before? Do you think?

Jason Romano: Yeah. It's interesting. I don't know if I have a exact answer. because I think the first year that we did the Super Bowl with Sports Spectrum 2018, I remember asking Zach Ertz or it wasn't even me, it was somebody else on our team. Asked Zach Ertz, who was a tight end with the Eagles at that time, about the most important thing in his life, you know, about Jesus.

We posted that on Facebook and it reached like 15 million views. I still to this day remember that and think we're never going to get that again. And I don't remember why. I think it just was the algorithm. Right. You share it, you share it, you share it, it starts getting shared more and then just kind of goes, goes crazy.

We haven't been able to reach that since that number. but it was kind of a an eye opening moment to remember. Okay. This is the kind of content that can really resonate with a certain amount of people. Like, why would why would that get shared by that many people? Well, ultimately, I'm assuming it's getting shared because people are resonating with the conversation.

Me saying, oh, I'm a follower of Jesus too. I really like what he had to say. I'm going to share this with my followers or whatever. So I think social media has really changed the game. On getting to see athletes in a different light. You know, I think there were plenty of athletes in the 80s and 90s and even early to mid 2000s that loved the Lord.

We just didn't see them other than maybe a microphone in their face postgame, you know, or a press conference or something like that. We didn't hear about their faith. Now you have platforms, you have opportunities to talk to people, and then you have this vehicle, this social media vehicle, like you said, that these algorithms and some of these things can just take off.

I do think there is a little bit of a shift in people looking for more purpose in their life, and I think when they see it in sports, you know, some people are cynical. You know, I was one of those many years ago about like, oh, he's he's praising God. Is that supposed to help him win games? And, you know, I don't think when people say that they understand.

So I don't get mad at people who say that because they don't understand the gospel. I think in the reason they're giving praise is because that's who Jesus is to them. And, you know, Brock Purdy said, listen, win or lose, God's going to get the glory either way, he's already taken care of the outcome. I can't sit here and be mad at him if I win or I lose.

And they lost and he still said that, and he appreciates the platform to be able to still talk about God, you know, and I just think we're in a different stage of of the journey. I'm not sure if Christianity is becoming more acceptable in sports. I'm not sure about that. I'm not sure it's declining either. I just think it's kind of there.

I will give credit to certain sports, especially the NFL, where they're very open about people sharing their faith. They're open about other faiths, too. They're not exclusive, obviously, to Christianity, but I don't think that they try to wipe that away. I think media companies do secular media companies more often than not. But I think the the sports themselves say, hey, this is part of who these athletes are.

So let's embrace that. Let's let them, you know, go to the 50 yard line after an NFL game and pray, these NFL or NBA guys or soccer guys or, you know, whatever sport it is, baseball. Let's try to embrace the fact that they they have a genuine faith. And let's get to know these athletes on a different level.

Now, they're not asking those questions, like I said, but I think they're at least open to letting these athletes be more vocal about what they believe. And, yeah, it's interesting, though, because there's a few different topics in the inside Christianity that if you start talking about, that that's when people are like, wait a minute, now that's how they are.

And I think there's going to come times when we're going to have to be vocal and stand up for our faith. It might be harder. I feel like right now in sports, though, it's a time when when guys are being more bold, and especially here in the States, I'm not I can't speak for the UK, but I can tell you in the States, I think guys are being more bold and they're seeing social media in different platforms as opportunities to to share the gospel.

Jonny Reid: Yeah. No, I think it it feels like even in the last five, six, seven years, there's that shift where athletes have their own platform for want of a better word. And so they they feel they want to make the most of the opportunity they've got to, to share something of the totality of who they are. I think they're not just a footballer.

They're not just a parcel. They are a follower of Jesus who also plays football. And that that feels like a shift as well. Maybe the power five, ten years ago was in the hands of the media companies a little bit more. I think we've reflect on this, the Christians in sport, in terms of how do we expect athletes as well, where they are.

Their identity is such a precious thing in terms of how do we help them, speak of their faith and yet not feel like that is something they have to do publicly on a big stage. If that's not what the Lord has called them to do at that moment in their lives, it may be actually they need to be in the locker room, in the dressing room cheering by faith.

But it feels like social media slightly moved that into a different way where people go, no, actually I've I've got an opportunity to have that many thousands of people do follow me. to say something of what really matters to me. And that's it's an exciting space we seem to be in, which is slightly coming over here to the UK a little bit more, I think, because as people are recognizing they have that opportunity.

Jason Romano: I feel that way too. Yeah, I think social media is really fascinating because talking to some of the athletes and it will get me personally, this is not judging anyone a little sad if I know one athlete's a believer and they don't talk about Jesus, but you don't want to force it either, like you want it to be just who they are, right?

So it's almost I'm not going to say, like, if I'm asking you a question, Johnny. And I say, hey, tell me about the game and you know what your thoughts were on that game. And you say, well, first I got to tell you about Jesus. I think that's awesome that they're bold enough to do that. But I also think it's Christ like to answer the question.

Yeah, no. If you're asking about the game, you should answer the question about the game. Now, if there's ways to weave in, you know, like, listen, the game was great, I watched it. I mean, I'm just so grateful to the Lord that he gave me this opportunity. And and we went down the field and we we took it to them.

That's fine. But I'm, I'm also good with not always forcing faith into every single conversation. Let it be genuine. You know, if there's a guy that's, a little more quiet about their faith and they're they're not outspoken about it, how in the heck can I judge that person then? I just can't. And so I think as Christians, we need to be mindful not to judge other Christians for how they're using their platforms because we don't know everything about them.

We don't know what's going on behind the scenes, and we don't. And we have to be careful to, on the other end, the very outspoken Christian, we have to be careful not to raise them up on a pedestal just because they're so outspoken about Jesus. But what are they doing behind the scenes that we don't see? So we just got to be mindful here and trust that God is working in these athletes in the best way possible.

I do think there's a little bit of a shift to wanting to share their faith more for sure, but we just got to be mindful, especially speaking for myself as Christians, not to either raise them too high or put them too low because they're not outspoken or they're almost too outspoken, if that makes sense.

Jonny Reid: Yeah, that makes it makes perfect sense. Here's where we kind of talked about right at the start in terms of the work of a POW. Oh, the work as a Christian sport, we're working with elite athletes, we're working with is is helping them navigate those questions where like, like you say, they aren't that cool to be disciples of Jesus.

We're all called with substance. Jesus. We're called to speak of our faith totally around us. And so I often say, you're your first mission field. If you're in the world of sports, it is often to your teammates, and that may be behind the locker room wall is, you know, see that. And then like you say, if you if there's more opportunity then then praise the Lord.

But but do that in conversation with your local church. Chat that through with them. Is it something if it's something you feel the Lord is equipping me to do, is is this a gifting you feel I've got to share? And we'll probably have those conversations. We're all equipped to share our faith around us. That's what we're called to do as followers of Jesus.

And yet.

Jason Romano: But what does that look like? Right? Like it's a.

Jonny Reid: It'll vary.

Jason Romano: Common, right? If you're not sharing it on Twitter, does that mean you're not living out the Great Commission? I don't I don't think so. Like it just does. It's just all we see as fans or as as people who are rooting for these guys. They're just not ready to talk about it. You know, in a forum like that.

Again, totally fine. But that doesn't make them any less of a Christian.

Jonny Reid: But that's in some ways not for us to to out them in that sense. And it's also not for us to tell them to work out alongside their pastor along to my church. Are they going to do they want to share their story more publicly? And maybe it'll be something which comes from that near the back end of that career.

They're a bit more mature that maybe a bit more plugged into local church. That's easier to do that. And. Yep.

Jason Romano: We have to be careful because we do that in the media, especially in the, the Christian media, of raising these guys up to pedestals that maybe they're not quite I mean, honestly, we know this. None of us were really made to be worshiped. That's what God I mean, we all worship something, but God is the one who's made to be worshiped, not us.

And yet we live in such a culture and society. I don't care if it's in the UK or the US, or all around the world where we worship these athletes and these celebrities and musicians. We we worship them to the point where we got to be very careful not to raise them up. And especially in that Christian media, when we see a Christian, are we see a celebrity who all of a sudden talks about Jesus.

It's like we want to rush in and put that person up on a pedestal, or even put them on a pulpit and start talking about their faith. And it's that's not necessarily good discernment either. So we got to be very mindful on that. And just cheer them on. Right. Pray for them and let them be where they're at with their walk.

And and hopefully God gets the glory through it all.

Jonny Reid: Well, I think that's that's probably a good point to start with. I could talk for hours. It's, it's it's the same worlds we're in. It's it's exciting to talk about sport and faith and how people are connecting together and speaking of Jesus, we just we long for, the same thing we want to see. Jesus made much of it in the world of sports and absolutely sports.

People who trust in Jesus to flourish with the gifts they've been given to, to to work out their identity, to find it so rooted and grounded in Jesus. So, similar things, different parts of the world, different cultures. But, I know there's so many people listening in who love American sports. So be fascinated. Be if you do live American.

So what we interviewed, actually, Jason's boss, Steve Sandstrom, last year for the podcast. You can grab that. He was an NFL quarterback, I seem to remember. And so that's a great story. You can dive onto that or, if you want your American sports fix and you love Jesus, dive on the sports spectrum. hundreds of stories, thousands of stories.

I'm really encouraging to listen, to see what you're doing. So, thanks so much. Thanks for your time. Thanks for what you're doing. it's encouraging. Exciting. See what Bill's doing through, through you guys out there, and, we'll keep talking.

Jason Romano: Yeah, I hope so, Johnny. Thanks for having me. Always great to talk with you. And let's do it again soon.

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