(Photo: REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity)
Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks point guard who rose to fame after breaking records and being vocal about his Christianity earlier this year, surprised some when rumors circulated that he spent last Thursday club hopping and drinking alcoholic beverages with women.
Some people criticized Lin's alleged decision to party as a high-profile Christian athlete and wondered if New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow would fall to the same temptations in the big city.
"Jeremy Lin was caught drinking in the club this weekend, I don't think that was very Godly of him," one person tweeted. "(Tim) Tebow's next! #NYLife."
After the New York Post reported that Lin and teammates Josh Harrellson, Landry Fields and Jerome Jordan partied in New York City's meatpacking district, some told the publication to cut the young player some slack.
"The Post should let Jeremy Lin go where he wants to go," a Lin fan tweeted after the headlines appeared. "It is not a big deal that he went to a club in the Meatpacking District."
The Post reported that a source said the 23-year-old was "drinking and was acting tipsy … like a college frat kid."
Some were quicker to trust Lin's Christian faith before news reports that were unconfirmed by the NBA player himself. Woody Woodfin, director of outreach for Athletes in Action New York City, told The Christian Post that people will try to frame Christian athletes like Lin and Tebow in negative ways.
"People want to try to trap Jeremy Lin and Tim Tebow into doing different things. I'm not so sure we need to believe everything people are writing about these guys," Woodfin said. "I'm not sure it's fair for a guy who wants to hang out with his teammates and his friends."
The director of outreach said he trusted Lin was acting as a Christian if he was indeed operating in a club environment, and encouraged others not to judge the athlete.
"I'm sure he wants to do the right thing because of who he is and whose he is," Woodfin said of Lin's relationship with Jesus Christ. "The reality is we don't know what we would do in those situations."
Earlier this year, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith spoke about Christian athletes getting drawn into the appeal of New York City nightlife on "First Take" after Tebow joined the Jets in March.
"Now you might not be the one drinking and smoking, and you might not be the one chasing fine honeys and all of this stuff," Smith said. "But you're in those confines subjecting yourself to a level of temptation that you [say] you're not all about."