Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Christian driver loses sponsorship

Not ashamed — Blake Koch remains outspoken about his beliefs, even though he has fallen on hard times financially. Photo provided

NASCAR driver Blake Koch faces funding issues due to ad with ‘religious overtones’

ESPN rejected Nascar Nationwide Series racecar driver Blake Koch’s advertisement for Rise up and Register, causing his sponsorship to fall through. The pro-vote advertisement was not aired because of Koch’s outspoken Christian beliefs, according to ESPN.

“The spot was declined for political and religious overtones, which we avoid by all of our standards. We looked at the website… you know… as well… at Blake’s website and do see the religious aspects of this. So those are the reason,” ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Outreach Rosa Gatti said on a Koch’s voicemail, according to Fox news.

Because the Koch’s commercial for Rise up and Register was denied, he lost his sponsorship — a reality that has caused him to question other potential endorsements.

“When I first found out when my sponsor couldn’t air a commercial because of my religious content on my website, I initially was like man that is crazy,” Koch said. “What happens if I get a Home Depot sponsorship, and they can’t air it because I’m a Christian? That could really affect me big time, and then it really turned into like, that’s not what this is about, that can’t be the real reason why this commercial isn’t airing so I knew that God was up to something.”

Although not having a sponsor has created some funding issues, Koch is optimistic about the future, relying on his faith in Christ Jesus to direct his next steps.

“I knew He had a plan and from that point on, I had just been going with it just trying to figure out what the outcome is, what the plan is, what it’s all going to turn into,” Koch said. “It just sums it all up with faith in Christ that He’s all in control, and He’s going to out you where he wants you.”

Koch’s complete reliance on God came through a gradual process, he said. The progression began when he started racing professionally.

“There isn’t one time when I completely changed my life. It’s been a slow process. The fastest process was, probably, when I started racing and talking about my faith in public,” Koch said. “When you start talking about your faith in Christ, God sometimes touches your heart that way. It just makes you grow as a Christian.”

Koch’s responsibility as an outspoken Christian athlete is not limited to his on-stage presence, but extends into his fans’ lives.

“There’s more to being a Christian than going on stage and sharing your stories when you get a chance,” Koch said. “It’s about sharing the love of Christ. It’s taking an extra five minutes to talk with a fan or keeping a smile on your face no matter what happens.”

But even more than taking time to meet with fans, Koch’s Christian lifestyle dictates how he handles struggles.

“There’s some challenges like losing sponsorships and handling those,” Koch said. “And the answer to all that stuff is just being in prayer and listening to what God is trying to tell you to do. Everything you do make sure it glorifies Christ.”

For more information about Blake Koch, visit his website www.blakekoch.com.

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