Under most circumstances, Liberty’s comeback win over Mississippi State in the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament should’ve been one of the best early moments of March Madness.
After all, not only was it Liberty’s first-ever NCAA tournament win, as ESPN notes, but it was a thrilling comeback. The 12th-seeded Flames faced a 10-point deficit with fewer than seven minutes to go before roaring back to win 80-76 against the 5-seed Bulldogs.
After an exciting and historic win, Liberty’s coach Ritchie McKay credited his school’s “Christ-centered program” for helping spark the upset.
"That was as resilient as it gets."
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 23, 2019
“We want to give God all the glory, obviously,” McKay said in the immediate aftermath of the win.
Aren’t the emotions, thrills and historic wins what March Madness should be all about? Well, yes, there are the brackets millions of Americans fill out every year, but as far as the actual on-court basketball, Liberty’s win is the perfect encapsulation of what this tournament is supposed to be about.
Unfortunately, due to little more than the fact that Liberty is a proud university with defined Christian and conservative values, it has seemingly brought out the anti-Christian bigots in droves.
Not long after Liberty’s win over Mississippi State, notably leftist sports site Deadspin put out a piece titled “As I Lay Me Down To Sleep, I Pray For Liberty To Freaking Lose.”
To be clear, Deadspin’s Laura Wagner didn’t want Liberty to lose for her bracket’s sake. No, she wanted them to lose because Liberty was, in her words, “a den of bigotry masquerading as Christianity.”
“Nothing against the players, but if Liberty — the ultra-right-wing Christian university that has staunchly supported Donald Trump (drawing ire from some of its own students), and whose legally questionable anti-gay, anti-transgender policies prohibit “sexual relations outside of a biblically ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman” — becomes the tournament’s much-hyped Cinderella team, I’m going to have to learn some satanic rituals,” Wagner wrote.
Sadly, it wasn’t just on Deadspin where the anti-Christian bile was being spewed. It was prevalent across social media as well.
Not unlike the intersection of politics and sports, it seems that people are unable to separate religion from sports as well now.