Anthony Edwards and his troubling decisions

Anthony Edwards is one of the best basketball players on the planet. The shooting guard was a first-round pick in 2020 by the Minnesota Timberwolves out of the University of Georgia. Edwards has already taken the NBA by storm, voted as a member of the NBA all-rookie team and selected to play for the United States National Team in the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. This season Edwards has led Minnesota to the best record in the Western Conference.

Like many young professional athletes, Edwards is wrestling with the trappings of wealth and fame. Recently, an Instagram model, Paige Jordae, published, on her social media account, screenshots of a text conversation she had with the NBA star. According to the screenshots, Jordae revealed to Edwards that she was pregnant with his child. His response was disturbingly callous: “[I] can’t do this” and “Get a abortion lol (sic).” Jordae shared with him that she had an abortion two years prior and regrets it “every day.” Still Edwards pushed, “You can’t force a kid into this world.” When Jordae again emphasized the regret she had from a previous abortion and criticized him for his callousness, Edwards continued to push, promising money. Later Jordae also posted a screenshot of a $100,000 wire transfer and his demand to see a video of her taking over the counter abortion pills. A few days later, he demanded to see the video, which she sent him. After the evidence was presented, he grew cold to Jordae and said he’d only communicate through his lawyer.

The exchange is astonishing, but perhaps it should not be surprising. The pro-abortion movement is championed as liberation for women’s rights, yet ready access to abortion only serves to empower irresponsibility by men who demand consequence-free sex. In the text exchange, Edwards repeatedly says he doesn’t want kids and the pregnant woman desperately points to the humanity of the child in her womb. She later wrote on Instagram, “I’ve been lied to and manipulated by someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and takes no accountability for anything.” This is the tragic narrative of thousands of women around the country. According to one report, 64 percent of women who choose abortion do so as a result of coercion, often by the father.

Abortion on demand is a symptom of the sexual revolution, which has severed sexuality from covenant faithfulness within marriage and from responsible fatherhood. Abortion has given young men a convenient way to escape fatherhood. Thus, every day babies are killed on the altar of convenience. This incident shows the value of pregnancy resource centers, who offer compassionate alternatives to women who want to keep their babies. And it shows the urgent need to train and equip young men toward covenant marriage and responsible fatherhood.

When their encounter became public, Anthony Edwards released a statement, “I made comments in the heat of a moment that are not me, and that are not aligned with what I believe and who I want to be as a man. All women should be supported and empowered to make their own decisions about their bodies and what is best for them.”

In one sense, the public outcry reveals a good kind of shame still associated with abortion. As John Piper has said, “We know we are killing children.” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch’s response was telling, “It’s important to state that’s not reflective of our organization, our values, for sure. And as a young man, it’s clear that the education and maturity of Anthony Edwards continues to be a work in progress.”

Yet we should mourn that Edwards only appears to be apologetic for his words and not the actions that resulted in the loss of an innocent human life. This is not surprising in a culture, especially a sports culture, that often celebrates abortion. When the Supreme Court reversed Roe, the NBA commissioner lamented the decision in a lengthy statement. The NBA and WNBA often encourage giving to Planned Parenthood.

Christians are right to oppose abortion on demand, despite cultural pressure to back away. And the incident underscores the need to continue to preach the gospel of Jesus, which offers forgiveness and redemption for many young men and young women who choose abortion. We should pray that Anthony Edwards finds Jesus the way Pastor Garrett Kell did. Kell, as a young man, similarly pressured a girlfriend to abort their baby. But he found salvation in Christ and is now a faithful, pro-life minister of the gospel. He writes, “Jesus entered into my broken world and gave comfort when I deserved condemnation. He gave love where I withheld it. He gave mercy where I acted murderously. Why? One reason is so I can share his grace with others facing similar sorts of brokenness.”

Even as we enjoy Edward’s athletic accomplishments, let’s pray he finds this same peace with the Creator who made him—and every unborn baby—in His image.

Daniel Darling is director of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His forthcoming book is Agents of Grace. He is also a bestselling author of several other books, including The Original Jesus, The Dignity Revolution, The Characters of Christmas, The Characters of Easter, and A Way With Words and the host of a popular weekly podcast, The Way Home. Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Dayspring Bible College, has studied at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife Angela have four children.