In the wake of a deadly shooting in Las Vegas, sports figures from Philadelphia and across the country have begun to weigh in on an attack that claimed the lives of more than 50 people and injured hundreds more.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, coming off a strong performance during Philadelphia’s 26-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, invoked his faith in the wake of the massacre.
“So much hate and evil. So sad. The World needs Jesus in a bad way,” Wentz wrote on Twitter Monday morning. “Praying for all those affected in Vegas.”
So much hate and evil. So sad. The World needs Jesus in a bad way.
Praying for all those affected in Vegas.
— Carson Wentz (@cj_wentz) October 2, 2017
Reactions to Wentz’s comments on the shooting were decidedly mixed. Many fans thanked the devout Christian for invoking religion in the aftermath of such a tragedy.
Agreed brother. The absence of Light promotes darkness. Shine on
— gonzo (@sb2bowl) October 2, 2017
Whether it’s Jesus or another peaceful deity, we need love and kindness right now. You nailed it Carson.
— Pat (@FilthFancy) October 2, 2017
I agree. Thanks for being a light in such a dark world.
— Brenda Feldman (@BrendaFeldman2) October 2, 2017
Others criticized Wentz for not calling for more substantive measures in the wake of the shooting.
Maybe Jesus or God could show up BEFORE 50 people die and 400 get injured pic.twitter.com/ZE2DOS3ehC
— Joshua Pantoja (@joshuapantoja58) October 2, 2017
Perhaps Jesus wants the US to do something about the easy availability of guns and the fragile mental health of some white men?
— Angela York Crane (@toocanAnj) October 2, 2017
Yes, but forgive me if thinking common sense gun legislation is gonna do a lot more good then ppl finding solace in a make believe man in the clouds
— Eric (@Er1cccccc) October 2, 2017
Other Eagles brought up prayer in the wake of the deadly shooting. Wide receiver Rodney McLeod, long snapper Rick Lovato, wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Zach Ertz posted messages on Twitter offering prayers for the victims, but did not appear to receive the backlash that Wentz garnered.
— Rick Lovato (@TheSnappingLife) October 2, 2017
Prayers up for people in Vegas right now ����
— Rodney McLeod (@Rodney_McLeod4) October 2, 2017
Prayers up for the victims and their families in Las Vegas #domesticterrorism
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) October 2, 2017
My heart mourns for the families that were impacted by what happened in Vegas. Praying for everyone who has been affected
— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) October 2, 2017
In remarks at the White House late Monday morning, President Trump also offered prayers to the victims.
“Scripture teaches us, ‘The lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit,’” Trump said, quoting verse 18 of Psalm 34. “Receive comfort from those words, for we know God lives in the hearts of those who breathe.”
In an interview with my colleague Jeff McLane last month, Wentz was candid about using his platform to spread God’s word, despite knowing that being vocal about his faith could be a divisive issue for some fans.
“You’re always walking that fine line, without a doubt,” Wentz said. “I always tell people, for example, ‘If you love your job, you love your wife, you love what you do, you’re going to talk about it. Well, I love Jesus.’ That’s what I love, so I’m going to talk about it. But I’m not going to force it down your throat either.”
Of course, Wentz isn’t the first Eagles player to be criticized for invoking religion. Former quarterback Tim Tebow, an outspoken Christian who wrote Biblical verses on the black patches he wore under his eyes, quickly became one of the most polarizing figures in sports after starring in an anti-abortion commercial that was broadcast during Super Bowl XLIV.
Other Eagles, including defensive end Chris Long and running back Donnell Pumphrey, commented on the massacre without mentioning religion or prayer.
Speechless looking at the videos from Vegas…
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) October 2, 2017
When is this sh*t going to stop ����♂️ https://t.co/yFjbBQTrHS
— Donnel Pumphrey Jr. (@Pumphrey6K) October 2, 2017