Associated Press, Heaven Bureau, Dec. 18, 2007
– Just days after the Browns unveiled their new “Believeland” campaign, officials here have asked Cleveland’s sports franchises to stop using religious-sounding slogans to promote their sports teams, citing fear that local fans might think actually God cares about sports.
The Heavenly Committee for Slogans and Signage penned a lengthy letter to Cleveland’s three professional sports teams, asking them to consider more secular language in future campaigns. The committee acknowledges that “religion and sports have a long and cordial relationship – from hockey’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ to Pittsburgh’s ‘Immaculate Reception’ to the White Sox’s 'Don’t Stop Believein.'"
"But," it goes on, "don't you guys think you're over doing it?”
The letter cites several recent examples, including: ...
“Believeland,” Cleveland Browns, 2007.
The Browns recently unveiled T-shirt slogan is “an obvious reference to the faith many religious people have in the existence of one all-knowing God,” the committee writes. Also, “It’s a little premature, don’t you think? I mean, you guys are one new Kellen Winslow hobby away from missing the playoffs. Couldn’t you at least wait until there’s that little ‘x’ next to your name in the standings?”
“We Are All Witnesses,” Nike/LeBron James/Cleveland Cavaliers, 2006-Present
. Although coined by Nike, the Cavs and their fans adopted this phrase in 2006. The committee calls it "an obvious reference to Jesus Christ, which is troubling on multiple fronts. First, to compare the ascension of one human, whose existence is erasable at God’s whim, is tenuous at best. Second, Jesus is a way better post player than LeBron. Seriously. Dude's a monster on the block.”
“The Chosen One,” LeBron James, origin unknown.
“This is a tattoo on James’ back and not actually the work of team officials, so we're hesitant to suggest changes to this slogan. But, seriously, the Chosen One? That's just plain stolen. Could you at least encourage him credit us somehow? Do his tattoos have a bibliography or something?”
“Rise Up,” Cleveland Cavaliers, 2007.
The battle cry of the Cavaliers’ 2007 playoff run, the committee found the slogan on its own to be acceptable, since “LeBron does have huge ups.” But alongside the previously outlined Cavs slogans, this “is just patently false. It insinuates that after being chosen, and after being witnessed, James will one day 'rise up' from the dead. And while, in the event of the star’s untimely death, we would consider the franchise’s request to resuscitate James, thus saving the people of Cleveland from having to watch Ira Newble run the three, there’s lots of paperwork involved in that, and we’re just not sure we’re up to it. So knock it off.”
“It’s Tribe Time Now,” Cleveland Indians, 2007.
“It’s a Jewish thing, right? Not cool, guys.”
-- Joe P. Tone