Did any news organizations follow up on the religion-news angle in this story?
The answer — this is becoming the norm — is “yes,” and “no.” Yes, conservative and religious media covered the faith angle, while elite press didn’t think the topic was worth ink (perhaps because the topic would not be welcomed by their paying customers).
Take, for example, the Deseret News, which is (altogether now) a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which means the newspaper is directly linked to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thus, “faith” angles matter in that newsroom.
That leads to headlines like this: “Is Coco Gauff religious? Coco Gauff talks faith after US Open win.” This report included the quotes from the post-tournament press conference, then added:
[The win] was far from the first time that Gauff, who identifies as Christian, has spoken about her faith after a big win. In early August, she credited God and her “church family” with helping her refocus after losing in the first round at Wimbledon and win a tournament in Washington, D.C.
“I want to thank my Father, God for this. After losing 1st round Wimbledon it was a tough situation. A lot of prayer, a lot of support from my church family. So thank you to him & those who support me,” she said on Aug. 6, according to The Tennis Letter.
Gauff, who is expected to be ranked No. 3 in the WTA when new rankings … has credited her parents with helping her build a faith-based support system. Last year, she told The New York Times that she prays with her dad, Corey, before her matches.
“Corey and his daughter pray together before every match — not for a win but for the continued good health of both players,” the Times reported.
The Gauff family’s faith was on full display Saturday in the moments after Coco Gauff claimed victory over Aryna Sabalenka. One of her loved ones can be heard saying, “Thank you, God. Thank you, God,” in the footage of the young tennis star celebrating with her team.
The Times reference is important and should be acknowledged. At the same time, this post-tournament piece by Times columnist Kurt Streeter sounded a more conventional Gray Lady theme. The headline: “How Coco Gauff Embodies the Biggest Story in Sports.”
What is that story? It is the rising power of female superstars in American culture, especially in — politics and social activism.
Remember the athletes — famous professionals and little-known amateurs in the United States and globally — and how they spoke out and led.
And remember that Donald Trump was president then, spewing barbs at them, particularly at Black athletes who raised their voices or protested by having the temerity to kneel, exercising their right of peaceful protest during the playing of the national anthem.
Yes, I would agree that people kneel for many reasons and I stressed that here at GetReligion and in my national “On Religion” column. I backed the kneeling athletes, as a First Amendment liberal on matters of symbolic speech.
In this case, Streeter added:
Who gets the most money, notice and hosannas in youth sports? By and large, boys.
Who runs most teams and controls most media that broadcast and write about the games? By and large, men.
Who runs the companies that provide the sponsorship money? Yeah, primarily men.
Change is coming. But change will take more time. Maybe a few generations more.
The decks remain stacked in favor of guys, but women continue their fight. When it comes to the games we play and love to watch, that’s the biggest story in sports right now.
That’s valid and interesting.
Now, maybe reporters can also ask some relevant faith-and-life questions to Coco and cover what she has to say? Readers may be interested in the results.