Is Champions for Christ, the Sports Ministry That Caters to Jacksonville Jaguars and Other Athletes, a Marketing Tool or Merely Misunderstood? Making Money, Serving God
Mason, Margie, The Florida Times Union
The influence of a Christian sports ministry that counts among
its members Jaguars Mark Brunell and Tony Boselli has prompted
questions about the relationship between the charismatic group
and a sports agent.
In addition, Austin, Texas-based Champions of Christ has
attracted the attention of the Texas Secretary of State's
Office, which says the group has failed to follow state
regulations and should not be allowed to do business.
Questions first surfaced after the Chicago Bears' top draft
choice, Curtis Enis, fired his agent and hired Texas sports
agent Greg Feste.
Feste is a friend and associate of Champions President Greg
Ball, and Feste and Ball also are listed on federal tax returns
as members of a related organization, Executives for Christ,
something Feste denies.
Feste also is the agent of Jaguars linebacker Bryan Schwartz,
also a Champions member, and is Brunell's marketing consultant,
although not his agent.
Enis became involved with Champions for Christ shortly after he
was drafted by the Bears. Ball denies he told Enis to switch
"We don't recommend agents; we're not a business," Ball said
Friday. "Do I know Greg Feste? Most certainly; he's a family
friend. Do I recommend that players use him for an agent?
National Football League officials declined to comment on
whether an investigation was ongoing into Champions' business
operations. But sports psychologist and theologian Don Beck of
the National Values Center in Denton, Texas, says the league
asked him what he knew about the organization.
The league also has contacted Beck in the past regarding NFL
matters, he said.
"It's an entrepreneurial religious group. It's a new start-up
business, quite frankly," Beck said of Champions. "What raises a
question for me is when a religious organization [Champions]
uses Christianity as a front for making money. It makes me kind
But Ball says such comments are unfounded and misguided. He
says Champions is a non-profit organization built solely to serve
God, not pad the president's wallet.
"I think a lot of it is unfortunate that people would say
things when people haven't done their homework," Ball said of
recent media reports questioning the group. "When you touch
people of high profile, and their life changes and they start
changing, then some people are going to be upset by it. People
can say misleading things that just aren't true."
Scott Casterline, Enis' former agent, says he, too, was told by
officials from an NFL team the league is investigating
Champions' business practices.
"If they are doing things for the right reasons, glory be to
them. If they're not, then I've got a problem with it,"
Casterline said. "I'm a young Christian, but I do know that
Proverbs says if someone is using God's name for false reasons,
then you're supposed to speak out against it if you're a
Champions is more than two years behind in filing paperwork
updating the organization's board of directors and other
information, said Sharon Billieu of the Texas Secretary of
State's Office. She said that makes Champions an inactive
non-profit organization in Texas that "shouldn't be doing
Billieu said Champions could face penalties for operating, but
Ball said no one has contacted him requesting such paperwork and
his auditors have no knowledge of any problems.
According to the Chicago Tribune, former Jaguars Greg Huntington
and Jimmy Herndon -- now with the Bears -- started Chicago's
Champions chapter. …