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The Kurt Beathard Story Exemplifies BLM’s Successful Attack On Christianity And Football

The impact of the Black Lives Matter movement on football can perhaps best be told through the story of Kurt Beathard, not Colin Kaepernick. 

Beathard is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bobby Beathard, the legendary Washington Redskins general manager. Until a few weeks ago, 57-year-old Kurt Beathard was a small college football coach, the offensive coordinator at Illinois State.  He patterned his coaching philosophy after his father’s protege, Joe Gibbs, the three-time Super Bowl winner who, like a lot of coaches from that era, wore his Christian faith publicly.

It’s harder to do that now, in the BLM-influenced age, where racial-identity politics is the religion driving sports. You can’t be Joe Gibbs or Father Tom Osborne or Promise Keeper Bill McCartney or Tom Landry — or maybe not even Tony Dungy — in today’s climate.

Earlier this month, Illinois State reassigned Kurt Beathard for posting a sign on his office door.

“All Lives Matter to Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ”

I sensed the situation was more complicated than that simple explanation, so I called Beathard Monday afternoon for a more nuanced account. Initial news reports stated Beathard stepped down from his job.

“I never quit,” Beathard stressed. “I did not quit that job.”

Let’s start at the beginning. 

In mid-August, Beathard arrived at his office one morning and discovered a “Black Lives Matter” sign taped to the door. He immediately removed the sign. 

In small writing in the bottom corner, the sign listed a website for its sponsor, BlackLivesMatter.org, an organization Beathard justifiably views as Marxist and the cause of nationwide rioting, looting and violence. The founders of BLM have admitted they’ve been trained in Marxist political theory.

In trying to understand his players’ affinity for BLM, Beathard has researched the organization. He’s uncomfortable with BLM’s call to disrupt the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” a tenet of Christianity. Marxist political theory is hostile to all religions.

“‘I thought, ‘No, I can’t have this on my door,’” Beathard said. “So I took it off and put it behind the chair in my office. I was praying about it and I thought, ‘All lives matter here, and there’s no other organization other than Jesus Christ to sponsor that.’”

Later that day, Beathard hung his sign.

Beathard has relied on his religion more than ever during the past year. During the summer, his wife, Karen, lost her battle with cancer. Beathard’s 22-year-old nephew, Clayton, was stabbed and killed Dec. 22 outside of a Nashville bar.

“I truly believe that all lives matter,” Beathard said. “It’s right there in the Bible. God doesn’t discriminate. He doesn’t say, ‘Oh, I kinda like some of these people. But I really, really, really like these other people.’

“I keep hearing about the abortion rates and the gun killings. I think about the stuff that I got angry about when my nephew was tragically murdered. His life mattered. My wife’s life mattered, too. She lived with cancer for five years. She mattered to me. It’s about every life.”

Beathard said the “All Lives Matter” sign hung on his door for nearly two weeks before he was “politely asked” by one of his superiors to remove it.

“They didn’t demand it,” Beathard said. “They just said, ‘As a favor, could you please take that off your door?’ I didn’t take it off right away. I sat there and prayed about it, and I said, ‘God knows where my heart is. That’s all that matters. If it will help to take it off, I’ll take it off.’ ”

Unbeknownst to him, a few days earlier, Beathard said someone had taken a picture of the sign and circulated it among members of the Redbirds team. Some players were offended. Beathard said the offseason had been filled with tension throughout the team. He said the coaching staff had been been on alert throughout the summer that it might have to deal with issues stemming from the national unrest caused by the death of George Fl0yd in Minneapolis. 

Beathard had no idea the escalating tension would eventually engulf him. On Sept. 2 it did. That’s when the school informed him he no longer had a position on the Redbirds staff. 

“All Lives Matter to Our Lord & Savior” — something Joe Gibbs, Tom Landry, Tony Dungy or any Christian would say nonchalantly — cost Kurt Beathard his job. BLM activists have cleverly turned a basic Christian belief into an affront to black people. 

You can question the sincerity of football’s alliance with religion and patriotism, but you cannot deny the longevity of the alliance. Beathard’s story speaks to BLM’s power to change the culture of football. The game is being disconnected from its traditional allies. Racial politics and anti-American sentiment have replaced Christianity and patriotism. 

“I don’t like the way this has to be,” Beathard said. “I don’t like that you can’t have a different opinion than someone else. But I wouldn’t change (what I did). I’m not going to deny Jesus. If you deny Jesus, He’ll deny you. It’s written in the Bible, multiple times. I’m not going to back down on that one …

“I think I have a message to share with players. I really do. I think I can be good for them. I can stand for Jesus in front of a group of players and not be ashamed.”

Written by Jason King

Jason is a nationally-respected sports reporter and features writer who began his career in 1998 at The Kansas City Star. He covered the Kansas Jayhawks men's basketball team for seven years before moving on to stints as a national college reporter at Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com. From 2013-17, King was a Senior Writer at Bleacher Report, where his primary focus was longform features and profiles. He has authored three books on Kansas basketball.Jason’s work has received multiple mentions in the popular book series “Best American Sportswriting.” In 2015 and 2016, he was tabbed as one of the top five beat reporters in the nation by the Associated Press Sports Editors.

49 Comments

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  1. When morality is upside down, and a Marxist movement tries to take the place of God, this is the sad result. Cancel culture and virtue signaling are a disease that will infect and affect everything and everyone if we don’t stop it

  2. Slow downward spiral of athletics. Black Lives Matter is just a slogan. Nothing changes until people want to change from within. The stats don’t lie. More blacks kill blacks than anything or anyone. More are lives are destroyed before they even have a chance of success through no family continuity. Don’t here Athlete’s talking about that. Like it or not we all have to answer to higher being. Don’t care what your religion is. At their core, religion is the same. Only humans can screw it up.

  3. Mr. King,

    Thank you for diving deeper into this story. Your reporting confirms what my wife and I sensed from the start regarding Mr. Beathard’s departure. The anti-American, anti-Christian, immoral insanity propagated by marxist blm (no caps intentionally) and carried forth by uninformed athletes and administrators keeps on rolling, destroying far in excess of any good that it will ever accomplish.

    Our prayers are firmly and devoutly with Mr. Beathard.

  4. What ever happened to the America that went out of their way to support a person who lost his Wife and a nephew in a short span of time, if anything give the guy an extra wide berth and make sure he knows that he is loved and supported. They just did the exact opposite, and as crappy as it seems today Coach Beatherd will be better off in the long run. I’m not a fan of the Lord works in mysterious ways cliche, but it is often true. Coach B will end up at a program where he is appreciated and respected, which wasn’t the case at Illinois State penitentary or whatever they call that place.

    • You said what I was thinking. This guy lost his wife and nephew in a short time span, and instead of offering grace, patience, and understanding, they gave him ill will and cruelty. How very tolerant of them.

  5. Great follow up Jason King!!!

    If I remembered 1 thing from my 2nd grade nun during religion class at my Catholic school it was simply “We are ALL God’s Children”!!!

    Still shocked that state funded university (our tax payer dollars) can put essentially political signs all over campus, on the back of helmets, on jerseys. BLM is very much political. State funded schools supported by our tax dollars should not be allowed to do this.

    Notre Dame and Boston College are Catholic institutions. Obviously private as well. They are not putting MAGA and Pro Life on their sidelines or on helmets… Nor should they and I’m pro both of these. But do not get political in sports.

  6. I sincerely doubt his players identify as Marxists. There is such a disconnect from the founders and people who simply post or say “black lives matter” to show concern for racial tension and history in this county. An attempt to paint the whole movement as a Marxist movement threatening the western world is a classic straw man/fear-mongering technique. 98 percent of people who post or say “black lives matter” do inf-act also believe that all lives matter….

    “everyone needs to be Christian or the world will end” has been the social conservative motto for years. Just a new vessel for “Christian-oppression”. For the first time, white Christians are not the dominant cultural and political force, and they are butthut and terrified.

    Trump’s rise hit on these peoples fears, resentment’s and white angnst of a rapid changing society that doesn’t want to force people to have children they can’t afford or doesn’t care if gay people marry. Not everyone is Christian. Its ok. Life will go on.

    • You might have a point if what happened to Kurt Beathard was an isolated incident, but it’s not. What is wrong with saying “all lives matter”? Why is it offensive to these idiots if they really do believe all lives matter? If you can’t see the danger of BLM, you are burying your head in the sand.

      • I don’t take offense. I think the people are saying like, Look, when we say BLM we don’t mean all lives don’t matter, we just mean black lives need attention now, so stop implying we do by posing “all lives matter”

        Like that silly analogy always posted, when someone says my house is on fire you don’t say all houses matter, you put out the fire at their house

        I do not think he should have been fired for expressing his opinion. But it seems to me a bit politically on both sides to post “all lives matter” in response to the message v the movement like the poster said below.

        Jesus also cared for immigrants, the wounded and sick, etc. It seems to me that the religious right only seems to care, at least in an outspoken way, on hot button culture issues, gay marriage, now BLM. It seems to me that jesus would want to reach out and understand people who are hurting, and not try to question the sincerity of their “message”.

        • So black lives need attention? So to get that attention they riot, loot, ask for the assignation of police, demand justice be one-sided and if not they will riot some more, they harass random people while they are dining at restaurant, they say things like “pigs in a blanket fry them like bacon”, destroy even minority owned businesses and you say they just want some attention. As Latino man I don’t want sympathy or attention nor do I want to be looked as a victim. My family immigrated from Cuba (where my uncle spent 10 years in jail for being against Castro politically) and the BLM movement is similar to what happened in Cuba but instead of class warfare BLM uses race to divide. Castro hide the fact that he was communist and the Cuban revolution was a big lie which lead to communism. Do you think black lives are better of with communism? Why is blm linked to Marxism? Many people see thru the lies and some of us have lived through the lies and know what it’s all really about and its not to get attention.

          We are not victims, we immigrated to the USA for the opportunity leaving behind real oppression of government.

          • Andres, our wonderful next door neighbors happen to be a young couple from Cuba. They work very, very hard and they are so appreciative to no longer be under the socialism of Cuba. Matter of fact, the guy has a sticker on his car with a line drawn through the word socialism. I would go with his opinion as he has lived through it rather than anyone in this country who likely has never lived in a socialist country to spout off how much better we would be under such a leadership. Happy that you are in the USA, sir!

        • Actually they are saying exactly that. You obviously do not pay much attention but a common refrain from BLM is “all lives cannot matter until black lives matter”. In addition, BLM’s philosophy is openly Marxists and aims to “disrupt the Western nuclear family”. It’s all there in their material if you would like to read it. BLM is not about equality for blacks. It’s a Marxist Trojan Horse. And as an exit question, please explain how white Christians are apparently racist in your mind and responsible for black misery in the US, rather than the leftist white Democrats who rule virtually all US cities where the misery is most pronounced.

    • Stuart, you are probably right in that most, if not all the ISU players are not Marxist.

      However, until a BLM advocate will take an actual minute to clarify that he/she believes in the “message” and not the “movement “ (including the BLM beliefs) then there will and should be concern.

      As Jason W. has stated numerous times. BLM is a “catchy phrase “. There isn’t an argument that black lives matter. So do Jewish lives, brown lives, Muslim lives, atheist/agnostic lives, Asian lives and of course blue lives (especially since a cop literally saved my life 2 years back in giving me CPR)…Like I dated before and Coach Beathard says “We are ALL God’s Children”.

      ESPN actually posted this from Dabo Swinney… Perhaps we are getting closer to clarifying the “message” vs the “movement” or organization.

      • I mean your post is kind of my point. I don’t think they are saying Muslim, Jewish and white or blue lives don’t matter…

        I am a libertarian who leans left on social issues only. So when I hear right leaning media shouting all day that people who post “BLM” are all Marxists, and they all want to destroy the nuclear family, they know that is not true. Listen to what people are saying and not the 1 percent crazies at the extremes on both sides who shout the loudest.

        I have followed outkick for the last 4 years. The last 6 months or so they have definitely started leaning right in their coverage of stories/politics. I still consume it, because I consume media from both sides of the aisle. But, Clay has leaned into a conservatives base that is thirsty for culture war fights.

        • This goes to your point. Yes, many of us are conservatives who basically have nowhere to go except to Outkick. But we DON’T want any politics in sports, either side of the aisle. We just want sports. The left has gone insane and forced us to have to comment on their craziness. Look, those BLM supporters may not all be Marxists, but they are supporting a Marxist organization. They could say that they support the phrase, “black lives matter” and not the organization BLM, but they don’t, do they? So to me, if you support Marxists, you are a Marxist. Pretty simple. You’ve fallen for the baloney that ALL black lives suck and only black lives suck. There are tens of millions of white people who are as poor or poorer than those supposedly racially disadvantaged black people. Their ‘white privilege’ has got them jack. How can that be in a white racist country?

        • BLMs founders and most of their leadership identify as Marxist. Their words, not mine. Do a little research. As far as Clay, perhaps he is honestly appalled at the blatantly dishonest far-left tilt at so many former “mainstream” media outlets like so many of us, but he can speak for himself.

    • Stuart, did you read the story? They fired him. that’s the point. Whether or not the players are marxist or not, people are getting fired, harassed, threatened if they don’t fall in line with BLM. It is marxism.

  7. Are there no players that will speak out for this coach or are they all gutless? Are there no members of the community who will speak out against this administration for discriminating against Christians? The silent majority better start making some noise before it’s too lare.

  8. All those ignorant players(I’m going to assume most are black that have issues with the Coaches message), will most likely end up serving people fries or hustling on the streets after they leave Illinois State(unless they find a job that is all about Affirmative Action and allows them to jump the line ahead of more qualified applicants). It’s obvious that none of the players are open-minded or have not learned real life lessons. McDonald’s and Popeye’s always have jobs. Good luck, young men

  9. Unfortunately these kids will not realize the damage they have done to college sports until it’s to late. The image and likeness legislation will make it so only the big booster schools get the best athletes. USC will dominate recruiting. If a player shines at a small school his freshman year, he is gone to bigger school with more money.

  10. Great article and I’m happy Beathhard stuck to his beliefs and didn’t bow down to the mob !
    Disgraceful that he lost his job and the university should be ashamed of themselves .
    Sure hope Kurt lands on his feet !

  11. What a sad, disturbing story. Good coaches that are also good men can teach young athletes so much. This man had wisdom and personal loss that could have been used to help mold young men. But instead he was fired. I hope he sues the university for wrongful termination.

  12. Glad you mentioned Tony Dungy. As great of a Christian man as Dungy is, I think he has retreated from standing up for his faith when it’s convenient. He gets a pass.

    His silence on issues like religion in sports makes him look like he’s passive. Head football coaches are not passive.

    Tony probably thinks that the chaos brought by BLM and the riots elevate him as a calm thinker and preacher.

    This lack of integrity will continue until sports are cancelled at many schools, which hurts young minorities the most.

    Tony will be available for comment after the Norte Dame game 🎥

  13. Stuart seems to have a problem with religion but ignores that the left, including BLM, have turned politics into their religion and government into their God. Dancing a victory dance because this country is becoming unmoored from its Judeo-Christian foundation is a fool’s play.

    Having mortals as God and thus no real higher authority in life is breaking this country both down and apart. Going after the police is just the next step. And cancel culture is just the left’s training-wheels version of beheadings, by the so-called “secular” zealots, the likes of whom Stuart so recoils from when he thinks they’re too passionate in the name of Jesus Christ.

    The left seeks payback, the pendulum swinging their way, a second wrong to make them feel right. I’ll take the humanity and sense of salvation in Beathard’s, Dungy’s and their peers’ little fingers over the ranting, whining and profanity belching from the mouths of BLM and the frauds who don’t call it out.

  14. Sports like we have known are done. When you take God and Jesus Christ out it’s over, look at the school system. This country is just a shell of what it use to be, thank you Supreme Court for taking God out of our schools.

  15. Thanks for the follow-up JK.
    What I am so tired of is the inability of people to communicate. Instead, take a picture and post it online? Or spill your guts to your “friends” via dimwitter or instamigraine! C’mon man! Grow up. Go in and talk to coach…you might learn something. Because ya know, you are going to need a job when the NFL doesn’t call (and most likely they ain’t callin). Then the real growing up starts.

    P.S. But it was probably some staffer Karen who is stirring the pot after smoking the pot…

  16. I’m an Asian American and I was adopted in 70’s. I’m very proud to be American and Christian. How about Asian lives? I grew up in Tennessee. The racism can happened to all races. I was called all kinds of Asian names. All lives matter!!! It’s shameful woke culture got to him. BE STRONG coach. GOD BLESS!!!

      • The most white Americans are not racist, but we don’t hear that from most of the media and the left. The white Americans adopted kids from other races, no other race does that. My parents didn’t use me as a propped. Rodney King said after 90LA riot “we need to get along”. Democrats need to stop using racism as a tool for every election time. They have no ideas for the country, just hate.

  17. “Players make plays.”
    That’s what Kurt Beathard is doing.
    Leading like a real man – Christian and American.
    We desperately need more just like this.
    THANK YOU, Kurt Beathard! And thank you, Jason King for shedding light…

  18. A lot of thoughtful comments above. Coach Kurt was fired for keeping true to his Christian beliefs. Two high school athletes got suspended for carrying a Blue Lives Matter Flag on the field. Nick Sandman had his life destroyed for wearing a MAGA hat. It’s clear to see being are a Christian, supporting the police, supporting President Trump, and not bowing to BLM places you at risk. Of course Black lives matter. The BLM (proven Marxist) organization has taken the phrase and polarized it. After George Floyd’s death BLM, Antifa, and their radicals began a campaign of violence, intimidation and destruction. This intimidation (including the Twitter mob) has caused pro sports, corporations, and higher learning institutes to cower. Follow Jason Whitlock, Candace Owens, Bob Woodson, Shelby Steele, Rob Smith, and Herschel Walker. These are great Americans who tell fearless hard truths. They all agree that BLM (the organization) is deeply hurting the Black community.

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