As America’s favorite game show, Jeopardy! attracts fans from all walks of life. In fact, a contestant’s occupation caused a bit of a stir late last month. Here’s why David Sibley, an Episcopalian Priest, didn’t wear his clerical collar for the majority of his Jeopardy! run.
Priest Achieves Impressive Four-Game Win Streak
David Sibley, an Episcopalian Priest from Walla Walla, Washington, recently ended an impressive run on Jeopardy!. Sibley claimed victory for four straight games. That means his name is officially in the pool for season 39’s Tournament of Champions, and fans could very likely see him return to the show once again. However, Sibley drew a bit of attention during his run for something separate from his gameplay.
Despite being a priest, Sibley chose not to wear his clerical collar for the first three games. Immediately, fans noticed the choice online. Jeopardy! fans devoted to the Christian faith certainly wondered why Sibley decided to go on national television without fully embodying his sacred occupation.
However, any presumptions that Sibley was being restricted from wearing his collar went out of the window when he did decide to wear it on his fourth game. Some were critical of the choice. However, Sibley has explained why he made the personal decision to initially compete without it.
‘I’m A Regular Guy, Too’
In a post made on the Jeopardy! subreddit, Sibley gave a bit of insight into his decision. “I was well aware that being an Episcopal Priest on national TV could be really traumatizing and triggering to people who have had horrific experiences with the church, and so I made the decision that unless asked by the producers, I wanted to wear normal clothes,” Sibley wrote.
However, in addition to wanting to keep everyone comfortable, Sibley added that he wanted to showcase his personality outside of the religious realm. “I wanted people to realize that I’m a regular guy, too—not holier than thou, but hopefully relatable. While I hate being Tigger-like in moving around the screen, I think most people can guess I was nervous. I hope people could see when I was laughing at a dumb mistake (or cringing), and that, you know, I’m just a guy who likes Jeopardy like the rest of us,” the clergyman noted. As for the critics, Sibley had a fitting response on Twitter.
“Hey church twitter folks—personal request. Let the collar discourse go, no matter your opinion. Life goes on,” the post read. “The more it continues, the less we can be the joyful goofy people we are at our best.” Fortunately for Jeopardy! fans, we’ll hopefully get to see more of Sibley’s energetic performance and sweet demeanor in this season’s tournament.