For those that do not follow professional football–specifically the Chicago Bears–may not know the name Sam Hurd. The Bears season started off so promising. They were 7-3 and looked like a lock for the playoffs. Then came the injuries to QB Jay Cutler and RB Matt Forte. Backup QB Caleb Hanie has been bad. Tim Tebow Tebowed the Bears. Now WR Johnny Knox suffered a devastating back injury. Four losses in a row and the wheels have fallen off.
But one of the wackiest things to have happened in the last four weeks was the arrest of Bears WR Sam Hurd. Last week Sam Hurd tried to set up buying 5 to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1000 pounds of marijuana a week from a federal agent. That is a lot of drugs. It means that Hurd was a pretty big player in the drug world.
The sports commentary world was filled with accusations that the Bears management didn't do enough of a background check before signing Hurd and questions about how much Hurd's teammates knew. Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo said the following:
"We have a very sound and tested methodology that we go about researching all players in college to veteran free agents," Angelo said. "We spend an inordinate amount of time on character, making sure we know the player as well as we can.
"But no system is foolproof. For me to say we should have known something that we didn't know, I can't say that in this case. There's no foundation for anybody to say that. There are no facts, there are no flags that anybody could present tangibly to say we should have known otherwise.
"I want to make that perfectly clear to the public, to our fans. … We did everything you could possibly do given the information (we had)."
And I believe him. The Bears can only find out so much info. Yes there were some questions about Hurd's character just prior to the Bears signing him. But the Bears are a football team and not the FBI or DEA. And this story also shows us just how little we can know about others.
Sports columnist Vance McClure wrote an article in the Chicago Tribune outlining this very thing. He relates the story of Muhsin Muhammad's relationships with teammates Ray Carruth–convicted of conspiracy to commit murder–and Nate Newton–convicted of drug possession. The story about how Muhammad had no idea that Carruth was involved in planning the murder of his pregnant girlfriend it astounding. Muhammad and Carruth spent a couple of hours together playing video games the very night that Carruth's girlfriend was murdered. Muhammad was even a character witness for Carruth. Muhammad thought he knew his good friend was not capable of doing such a thing.
Bears teammates say the same thing about Hurd. They thought that he was just a good guy and a hard working football player.
I am sure that as Hurd's teammates look back, they might see some things that in retrospect were suspicious. But I think that the important lesson to learn is that the bad guys rarely walk around looking like bad guys. Paul tells us that the same is true when it comes to Satan in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
This doesn't mean that we should be skeptical of everyone. Being cynical is not a great way to live. Rather it means that integrity is not a once in a while thing. Integrity is something that is long-term. This means that if we want to be people of integrity that we cannot let our guard down.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.