[In May 2020], Brendan Leipsic of the Washington Capitals lost his job. Under normal circumstances, this would just be another story of a professional athlete being cut by his team for not being good enough. This time, it was for something much different. Someone published comments Leipsic made about several different women ranging from their body shape to sexual encounters he has or would like to have with them. The comments in the interaction ranged from disrespectful to abusive.
Unfortunately, this is not new. There is an underlying current of a sexual conquest lifestyle in pro sports. If you are a sports fan, you are likely aware of the multitude of stories about the sexual exploits of professional athletes.
Right now, some men reading this article are rolling their eyes. They are waiting for me to talk about toxic masculinity as if women never do anything wrong. I fully acknowledge women are human and can do harmful things. However, my purpose is to speak to men. Here is the problem, we cannot keep going around blaming women for our wrong actions and attitudes. At some point, we need to man up and take responsibility.
I had one man suggest to me that the lesson here is to not post things on social media. Sorry – that is completely missing the point. The lesson from this story is that we need to change what is already in our hearts and minds. There seems to be a disproportionate number of men in power or professional sports who carry inappropriate attitudes about women.
The Bible does give us a reason and an answer for these situations.
God created women as image-bearers.
Together, men and women were designed to function in unity in relationship and fulfilling God’s mission for the world. In Genesis 3:16, we are taught that part of the curse of sin in this world is men will want to rule over women. Men will be prone to care more about themselves and want to exercise a level of superiority over women. Athletes, and other men who see women the way Leipsic spoke of them, have failed to see women as image-bearers of God. These men are living out the sinful tendency of Genesis 3:16.
The problem is what is in our hearts.
We focus on Leipsic’s words and actions (and we should). But the real issue is what is in the heart of men who talk about women like this. In Matthew 15:18-19, Jesus Christ says, “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart … for our of the heart come … sexual immorality … slander. These are what defile a person.”
There will never be a change in the sexual conquest lifestyle in pro sports (or other spheres of life) until we deal with the heart. We can change rules, we can place consequences on men for their actions, but those will not change the man. They will simply cause the man to find other ways to express what is already in his heart.
There is Good News.
We are not destined to keep repeating these same attitudes and creating this much pain for others or even for ourselves. Every man can change, and a new story can be written about how we view and relate with women. In Ezekiel 36:26-27, God says that he will “give you a new heart” and “cause you to walk in his statutes.”
There is only one way to change the sexual conquest lifestyle some men seem to have. We must have new hearts to see our attitudes towards women change.
As a man, I am angry at the comments Brendan Leipsic made. In no way do they reflect what it means to be a real man. Masculinity is not measured by being superior to a woman by treating her as an object who exists for our sexual pleasure. Real manhood sees women as having incredible worth and value as a person who bears the image of God.
It is time for the sexual conquest lifestyle in pro sports to be challenged and changed for the good of every person involved. I am grateful to know that Jesus made the way for all our hearts to change.