Cooper Kupp’s Uplifting Presence On and Off the Field

Folks watching the action-packed National Football League playoff games got to see a stellar performance by Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

No. 10 and his team are now headed to the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 13.

The story of how Kupp got to the point where he’s at is one that inspires all those who dream of achieving greatness.

After graduating from high school, his hopes of receiving a scholarship offer from college football’s top division were shattered. Not a single one came his way.

He opted to continue pursuing the sport he loved at Eastern Washington University, where he worked hard and established himself as a first-rate receiver.

Back when Kupp was still in high school and was about to begin his first year of college, he made a decision to be baptized first.

Carla shared the reasoning of her grandson’s faith priority. “He wanted to make a statement to God about his commitment,” she said.

Prior to the NFL draft that would forever change life’s course for him, Kupp tweeted, “No gift I could give that would be worthy of Him…but I can play. To the very best of the ability He gave me. And He will be well pleased.”

In 2017 Kupp’s dream of getting the chance to play at the top professional level came true. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 draft by the Los Angeles Rams, just in time for the team’s second season in the City of Angels, having just returned from a multi-year stay as the home team in St. Louis.

The skills and self-discipline that Kupp developed at a smaller university, a division, incidentally, that is often overlooked, quickly catapulted him in the NFL.

He rose to the highest level a wide receiver can attain at the pro level, with the most receptions, most receiving yards, and most receiving touchdowns during a regular season, commonly known as the “triple crown” for those who play this position.

During the playoffs, he set yet another record by becoming the first player to exceed 2,000 yards in pass receptions as well as the first to catch 170 passes.

And he still has another huge game to play. His biggest ever.

Kupp has become a bright light for those who call the Left Coast home.

The most significant factors that relate to his gift of perseverance are expressed on his website in three short words: “Faith, family, and football.”

Kupp’s relatives include two previous generations of athletic prowess. Dad Craig was a quarterback who was drafted in the fifth round by the New York Giants, and also played for the Phoenix Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.

And Grandpa Jake was picked in the ninth round of the draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He played as an offensive lineman with the Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Falcons, and New Orleans Saints.

However, it is something much greater than sports that binds this family together. All share a genuinely vibrant living faith.

Dad Craig sums it up in a single phrase. “…Our relationship with Jesus is the center of our life,” he says.

Kupp’s life story wouldn’t be complete without talking about his bride Anna. The two met at a track meet when they were seniors in high school. It was the proverbial love at first sight. Kupp knew she was the one he would marry, and told this to his mother on the same day that he and Anna met.

The couple tried a long distance relationship for a brief spell, with Anna going away to the University of Arkansas to compete in track and field. Not being able to withstand being apart, though, Anna soon transferred to Eastern Washington. She lost almost two years of college credits in the process, but at least they were together once again.

Marriage soon followed, and they have been blessed with two beautiful sons. The family lives a God-centered life, which has had a positive influence on other young couples who seek to have the same.

It wasn’t long after Kupp began playing professional football that he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament. It was Anna who assisted him in his recovery. And, of course, he sought help from above.

“I needed God,” he said in a 2019 interview. “I needed to trust in what my faith was. Just my wife and son, being able to push me through this, teammates, the coaching staff, training staff, strength staff. I just had a team around me that encouraged me. It really showed me how important it was to have the people that God has really placed in my life.”

The wide receiver’s priorities remain clear. His relationship with his Lord and Savior are foremost in his life.

“…If it wasn’t for my faith, if it wasn’t for knowing that Christ has told me who I am in His eyes…He’s bridged every gap,” he said.

Never seeming to shy away from talking about his convictions, Kupp speaks out even in the face of the bright media spotlight that perpetually shines on celebrity athletes.

After his team defeated Tom Brady’s defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kupp shared his faith feelings by sporting a hat from his own apparel line. The attire encouraged, “Do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

These are words that are inspired by the Scripture verse 1 Corinthians 9:25, which reads as follows: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Gladys Knight Takes a Stand for the National Anthem

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Gladys Knight earned the nickname “Empress of Soul” for good reason. The hit songs that she and her band mates, the Pips, delivered throughout the 1960s, ‘70s, and ‘80s left a unique gospel-pop imprint on the pages of American music history.

It is for this and so many other reasons that Knight seems to be the perfect voice to lend dignity and beauty to professional football’s great national anthem moment this year.

Super Bowl LIII is set to take place on February 3 in Atlanta, Georgia, where the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will battle to determine which team will ultimately secure the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Look for “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Knight to provide a graceful air of decorum to the pre-game ceremony and give an assist to a National Football League (NFL) in need of an image boost after suffering through the aftermath of some high-profile political posturing.

Knight began singing at the tender age of four. By age seven, she had secured a win for an appearance that she made in 1952 on “Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.”

The following year Knight’s family formed a musical group, which they dubbed “the Pips,” a name derived from that of a cousin of Knight, James “Pip” Woods. The group would later come to be known as “Gladys Knight and the Pips,” which would be the vehicle that would ultimately propel Knight to superstardom.

Knight has an ecumenical faith background, having been born a Baptist, attended a Catholic grade school, and converted in the late 1990s to the Mormon church, the place in which she would create the Grammy Award-winning “Saints Unified Voices” gospel music choir.

The soul singer’s upcoming performance of the national anthem comes at a time following former member of the San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick’s game setting launch of a political protest.

Kaepernick’s protest began in 2016, during the third pre-season 49ers game in which he sat (and in later games knelt), instead of standing up with his teammates and the stadium fans as the national anthem was sung.

Kaepernick’s mode of protest, which continued throughout the season during the pre-game singing of the anthem, was offensive to many and distinctly out of place. It ended up hitting the NFL hard in the pocketbook, as some football players attempted to show their support for Kaepernick by emulating him.

The demonstrations by dissenting players during the anthem infuriated a significant number of football fans. However, liberal Hollywood elites and like-minded media outlets collectively nodded in unison and proceeded to lionize the protesting players.

Sports attire giant Nike added fuel to the football fire by making Kaepernick the poster boy of a signature advertising campaign. Kaepernick remains embroiled in a grievance arbitration filed against the NFL in which he alleges that team owners colluded to keep him out of the league after he lost out to being signed last season.

The whole Kaepernick controversy spilled over into this year’s Super Bowl halftime show preparations. Virtue signaling became all the rage as performers, which included singer Rihanna as well as rappers Cardi B and Jay-Z, declared that they would boycott the halftime show. Jay-Z even placed the following line in one of his tunes: “I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you.”

Meanwhile, those who are currently slated to perform, including singer and judge on “The Voice” Adam Levine’s musical group Maroon 5 and rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi, are being slammed by the social media and pressured to withdraw. Scott has even received backlash via Kaepernick’s own Twitter account.

Knight recently issued a timely and sage statement to the public, using a Hollywood trade publication as her outlet.

“I understand that Mr. Kaepernick is protesting two things, and they are police violence and injustice,” Knight wrote as reported by Variety. “It is unfortunate that our national anthem has been dragged into this debate when the distinctive senses of the national anthem and fighting for justice should each stand alone.”

Knight’s statement continued, “I am here today and on Sunday, Feb. 3, to give the anthem back its voice, to stand for that historic choice of words, the way it unites us when we hear it and to free it from the same prejudices and struggles I have fought long and hard for all my life.”

In light of the disharmony caused by the behavior and rhetoric on the part of Kaepernick and his allies in Hollywood and the mainstream media, coupled with the inept response by NFL leadership, Knight’s voice is going to be a musical tonic for those who have a passion for football and unabashed love for America.