NFL Player Criticized for Supporting FCA

NFL Player Criticized for Supporting FCA

Washington Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller is facing media scrutiny for supporting Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) on his cleats for the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign. Critics claim Fuller is supporting an “anti-LGBTQ group.” FCA tweeted on Sunday that they were appreciative of Fuller’s support.

On Sunday, an LGBTQ-focused sports news site called Outsports posted an article slamming Fuller’s support of FCA. The article dubs FCA “homophobic and transphobic” based on its policy preventing LGBTQ people from holding leadership roles within the ministry. Outsports further claims that FCA bars African-Americans from leadership roles: “It’s impossible to believe that Fuller—a Black man—would support any organization that bars Black people from leadership roles, as so many churches did for so many years, no matter how ‘Christian’ he, or the organization, is.”

The FCA website reveals that not only does the organization allow African-Americans to hold leadership roles, but multiple members of its executive team are black. According to its Sexual Purity Statement, the ministry seeks to “uphold God’s standard of holiness” by not turning a blind eye to sexual impurity of any kind—including homosexuality and premarital sex—when it comes it its leadership. However, everyone is welcome to attend FCA events and participate in the ministry, which believes that “all people are of great worth and value to God, and should be treated with love, dignity, and respect.” Outsports has criticized FCA for its affirmation of Biblical marriage and sexuality in the past.

The Outsports article goes on to criticize other players who have supported FCA in the past and accuses the NFL for allowing it. Other sites such as Queerty have posted similar articles, and X (formerly Twitter) users on both sides of the issue have tweeted for or against Fuller’s choice of cleats.

Despite the criticism, FCA publicly expressed appreciation of Fuller’s support on X. “Washington Commanders’ cornerback Kendall Fuller represented FCA this year,” the organization tweeted on Sunday. “We are appreciative of the coaches and athletes who choose to represent this ministry.”

According to the NFL’s website, “My Cause My Cleats” is meant to be an opportunity for players to “reveal their passions beyond the game and wear their hearts on their feet” during weeks 13 and 14 of the season. Players are allowed to choose their own organization to support based on their passions and opinions. A full list of what each player on each participating team chose to support was released last month. The players on Fuller’s team support a wide variety of organizations, charities, and societies to champion on their cleats.

The irony is that the franchise Fuller plays for, the Washington Commanders, has been vocal in its support of the LGBTQ Pride movement. Sunday was the team’s “Pride Night” as they hosted the Miami Dolphins and the franchise has a Pride Network dedicated to an “organization-wide culture of intentional allyship through supporting and belonging.”

Yet, CommandersWire, USA Today’s site for news pertaining to the Washington Commanders, posted an article on Monday affirming Fuller’s right to support FCA. “Fuller wanted to show his support for a cause dear to him, like any other NFL player,” the article states. “The great thing about this country is that in the United States of America, those with strongly differing religious beliefs are not to be prohibited from the free exercise of those beliefs.”

Also on Monday, Franklin Graham posted on Facebook in support of Fuller, praising the FCA as an organization which has impacted thousands of athletes for Christ. “Kendall chose to put them on his cleats … even though he faced some criticism,” he posted. “Standing with God’s Word is standing with the truth!”

Fuller has not directly responded to the criticism, but in a post-game interview on Sunday, he shared that God is the “why” behind his career. “My ‘why’ is to honor God in everything that I do,” he remarked, “so no matter the score, no matter the week, any opportunity to be out there and praise Him and worship Him, that’s what I’m going to do.”

Photo: Reggie Hildred/Newscom

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