Following a triumphant NCAA title win, 22-year-old Penn State wrestler Aaron Brooks found himself at the center of a heated debate due to his post-match comments on Christianity and Muhammad.
After his victory against Parker Keckeisen (Northern Iowa) during the Division I Mens Wrestling Championship, Brooks attributed his success to his faith in Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Brooks expressed the significance of Christ’s resurrection in his life, stating, “It’s everything. Christ’s resurrection is everything. Not just his life, but his death and resurrection. You can only get that through Him — the Holy Spirit only through Him.”
However, it was his subsequent remarks that ignited a heated debate. Brooks added, “No false prophets, no Muhammad or no anyone else. Only Jesus Christ himself.”
Despite being exhausted from his match, Brooks went on to talk about the power of the Holy Spirit, quoting Acts 1:8, “Acts 1:8, Power, Holy Spirit power, it’s everything,” he said. “That’s where it’s from.”
WATCH: Aaron Brooks Opens Up About His Christian Faith
Here’s the video @NCAAWrestling tweeted, then promptly deleted, of national champion Aaron Brooks professing his faith in Jesus Christ pic.twitter.com/Kk9e7XVb9U — Jake Schneider (@jacobkschneider) March 20, 2023
“This platform is great to wrestle on, but it’s to glorify God. “This stuff comes and goes. I’m blessed with this opportunity, these gifts. They’re not mine. He gives them to me to bring glory to Him”, Brooks told Penn State student newspaper (March 2022).
Some individuals found Brooks’ comments about false prophets and Muhammad offensive, equating them to bigotry and claiming they were unnecessary.
A person by the name, Sarwat Malik tweeted,“FunFact: you can practice your faith without sounding like bigot and dragging someone else’s faith so disrespectfully,”.“Absolutely uncalled for, BRAZEN.”
FunFact: you can practice your faith without sounding like bigot and dragging someone else’s faith so disrespectfully. Absolutely uncalled for, BRAZEN #islamophobia #AaronBrooks @pennstateWREST 🤔 @NCAAWrestling @espn https://t.co/24xXOWawWn — Sarwat Malik (@SarwatMHassan) March 19, 2023
Here are some of the responses to Aaron Brooks’s statements
Tripple congrats. But it’s so cringe when someone has the spotlight and talks about religion/politics.
We just wanted to hear about the takedowns man lol. — GRIDE (@cryptogride) March 19, 2023
Disgusting. But he can say what he wants. Why is the NCAA promoting this anti-Muslim rhetoric? What a bankrupt “non-profit”. — Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) March 19, 2023
After capturing his third title at the 2023 NCAA wrestling championships, Aaron Brooks used his ESPN interview to call Muhammad a false Prophet and take a cheap shot at Muslims pic.twitter.com/T9qoRRpsQE — Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) March 20, 2023
His was the cringiest, but this whole team felt like giving a sermon after they won. It was a shameful moment for wrestling! — Apostate1979 (@apostate1979) March 20, 2023
I’ve heard plenty of Christian pastors say this, but it’s wild to see a Christian athlete trash Muslims during a post-match interview by calling Muhammad a “false” prophet. https://t.co/DHVFCvisNb — Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) March 20, 2023
NCAA Wrestling was also criticized for initially sharing the post-match video and then subsequently deleting it.
As of now, Brooks has not publicly addressed the controversy surrounding his statements.