He made a living protecting quarterbacks. Now he defends life in every stage of its development.
For Chris Godfrey, who gained fame as the right guard for the Super Bowl XXI champion New York Giants, what began as a one-time talk given to an eighth-grade confirmation class in 1981 has led to a full-time pro-life ministry.
“Teens have been led to believe that sex is no big deal, something to do for kicks,” he says, explaining the rationale behind his founding of Life Athletes, an organization of more than 300 professional and Olympic athletes dedicated to being pro-life role models. “We want them to think about things beforehand, to make their own decisions.”
“Young people today are leading very busy lives,” he adds from his office in South Bend, Ind. “They' like the sheep in the Gospel: harried and harassed. They' bombarded with attractively packaged messages that are leading them down the wrong path.”
A cradle Catholic, Godfrey had an adult conversion experience at the beginning of his nine-year career in the National Football League, which led to speaking engagements across the country. “I became aware of what was going on with abortion, that a lot of people were getting hurt,” he explains. “So I began to incorporate some of these pro-life thoughts into the talks I was giving.”
Giants’ owner Wellington Mara and former Giants’ great Andy Robustelli took notice. On the heels of the team's 1987 Super Bowl victory, they invited Godfrey and five teammates to create a pro-life video called “Champions for Life.” Later Godfrey, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School and a member of the Indiana Bar, founded Life Athletes. The ministry's outreach now includes books, videos, summer camps and speaking engagements.
“We's honed what God would have us to do,” he says. “We's grown to over 300 athletes who are involved in one way or another. We invite others to join us in making the Life Athletes commitment.”