C.J. Stroud Jesus Reference NBC Screen grab: NBC Sunday Night Football

Completing 16 of 21 pass attempts for 274 yards and three touchdowns, C.J. Stroud continued his star-making rookie season in the Houston Texans’ 45-14 victory over the Cleveland Browns in the AFC Wild Card round on Saturday.

So it’s no surprise that NBC’s Kathryn Tappen grabbed Stroud for a postgame interview, asking the Ohio State product what the Texans’ Wild Card win meant to him.

“First of all, I just want to give all glory and praise to my lord and savior, Jesus Christ,” Stroud said. “I mean, it’s been amazing being in this city for as short as I’ve been but the love that I’ve got. I’ve really just been doing it for Houston, man. The people back home, I’m blessed enough to be in the position that I’m in and blessed enough to be playing at a high level right now. We gotta just keep it going, but I’m super blessed.”


Pretty standard stuff.

Tappen’s interview with Stroud, however, soon become an unlikely source of controversy. While the interview aired in its entirety on NBC, a clip of it that was posted to NBC’s Sunday Night in America X (formerly Twitter) account edited the rookie quarterback’s answer down, removing the religious references at the start of his answer.

As people picked up on the discrepancy between Stroud’s actual interview and the clip that was posted to social media, many were quick to criticize NBC for what they viewed as a form of religious censorship.

It’s unclear why NBC made the decision to edit Stroud’s answer. Giving the network the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible it wanted to share just a short clip of the interview on social media and opted to go with the more football-relevant portion of his answer.

Still, NBC should have known better than to remove something as sensitive as religion out of Stroud’s answer, especially without noting that the clip had been condensed. While it’s plausible that the network’s social media team only edited Stroud’s answer due to length and not its content, it opened itself up to unnecessary criticism, especially from those assuming the worst.

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.