NOTE: If you been living under a rock and aren't sure who Tim Tebow is, here's a link to his WIKIPEDIA PAGE.
There was a moment on this Sunday's Sportscenter where I literally yelled expletives at the screen. The last time I did this, Chicago Bears quarterback Rex Grossman was tossing ill-fated deep passes into the hands of the Indianapolis Colts' secondary during Super Bowl XLI. This time, my immature screaming had less to do with the fact that my hated rival The St Louis Cardinals were in the World Series, and more to do with ESPN and their inability to discuss a very deep and thought-provoking issue which they most assuredly could aid in advancing.
Chris Berman and Tom Jackson, two men who are not exactly known for shying away from controversial issues, acted perplexed at why some people root openly against Denver Bronco quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. This was during the tail end of Tebow highlights that accompanied the Bronco-Dolphin game on Sunday afternoon.
When Berman asked about why Tebow has detractors to his life, Jackson answered calmly that he has no idea. To me, and many thousands of others, this is ridiculous.
Even a common sports fan with a passing interest knows why.
Tim Tebow openly loves God.
Now, mind you, there are a myriad of other reasons people hope Tebow fails. For one, he seems almost too perfect, in the same way that Superman does. People relate more to the darker Batman. Tebow also played for the Florida Gators, a program many loathe.
But, barring your allegiance to a Florida rival like Florida State, I have been constantly perplexed by those that froth at the mouth when the name Tim Tebow comes up in conversation.
To be clear, I'm not talking about professional analysts who have a job to do when it comes to assessing Tebow's strengths and weaknesses as a player. Clearly, Tebow isn't a conventional quarterback (a point I'll discuss later). He needs to get better to make it on the professional level, that much is obvious, even to Tebow himself.
I'm talking about regular, every day friends and colleagues that actually cheer when Tebow fails. I know these people. You know these people. Let's not pretend we don't, okay?
As I said, I am fascinated with this utter and complete polarization. I have even calmly asked several sports fans why they don't cheer Tebow's progress? Within three minutes, some reference will almost always come up to Tebow's faith.
It happens 9 out of 10 times, and is obviously the predominant underlying factor in those people's disdain for Tebow.
This has me completely baffled, and gives me great sadness.
I've had my own issues with religion, especially the Christian faith. I try not to openly discuss it too much, as I find my position does me no favors. Christians usually think I'm not devout enough, or that I just have a passing interest in the theology. Conversely, friends of other faiths (or not as the case were), find my belief that something exists irritating. I have always felt like a square in a round hole on this subject. Point being- I'm not really on one side of the fence. I am totally open-minded.
Regardless of religious beliefs, I try to look at people for who they are, and usually I find the answer there. People are all flawed. People are different from you, me, and others. That's what makes society and life so interesting. I am proud to say I am close friends with Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Atheists, Artists, Frat Boys, the Rich, and the Poor. If you're a good person, I want to know you. Don't misinterpret, I'm not someone who sees the good in everyone. I think that outlook is ridiculous. For example, during my recent stint in jury duty, some of my fellow jurors felt awash in grief at convicting a young man of such heinous crimes he obviously committed. I felt sad he had thrown his life away, but certainly no remorse at our judgement. Average, hard-working men and women almost died because of this "kid's" actions. Those are the people I felt empathy for, having their lives turned upside down for no reason.
I just want you to have a full grasp of where my opinion is coming from. I weigh the good and the bad, as I think we all should. I don't expect to agree philosophically with everyone I'm close with.
I mean, wouldn't the world be a terribly boring place if we all agreed on everything?
Which brings me back to Tebow.
I can not fathom how someone, anyone, can look at Tim Tebow and not think he's a wonderfully good person who does far more for the world in ways of positivity than most.
He's an enormously nice guy who is always selfless. He gives credit to his teammates at all times, even as he's being called the greatest college athlete in the history of the game.
His charitable work is inspiring. Here's one example- Tebow received a 2.5 million signing bonus upon joining the NFL. Guess what he did with it? While other rookies were buying tricked-out cars and bottles of ridiculous high-priced booze, Tim Tebow blew the entire amount on various charities across the world. In 24 hours.
You really want to root against the guy?
He also does non-stop work with the Philippines, helping thousands of the underprivileged have a better life.
Even from a sports standpoint, the guy represents everything we as a collective generally champion.
For one, he's an underdog. Every football scout in America says this guy hasn't a prayer (excuse the pun) of making it in the NFL. He has poor mechanics. He can't read defenses. His accuracy is awful.
We always want the little guy to win! It's what makes sports compelling! Yet people hope Tebow gets cracked on his head and leaves the sidelines forever, all the better for us, as man... his John 3:16 eyeblack is really distracting, isn't it?
Tebow also shows the side of an athlete we normally revel in- unparalleled passion. Nobody can stand the lazy, apathetic, big time baseball player that phones it in every night. We love when athlete's show us their love of the game, and no one does that more than Tim Tebow.
Witness his improbable comeback this weekend against the Miami Dolphins and you'll understand what I mean. Tebow's teammates would run through a wall for him, and have always had his back, even if his actual Coach didn't. NOTE: Someone nominate John Fox for asshole of the year.
Tebow also shrugs off the criticism, and does it with a smile. He's open to humor, and is nothing if not polite.
All in all, Tebow is about everything you could ask for in a young man. Our society is filled with men of his age that need long lessons in character and integrity. This guy could teach it. I walk into any open public area and am usually filled with shock at the lack of consideration on display for fellow humans. This guy is the epitome of what's right in the world.
Yet, those that wish him ill still exist.
Yes, Tim Tebow loves God. Specifically, he believes in Jesus Christ.
You may not. And that's fine. But why the hate? Give me a tangible reason that doesn't revolve around other people. Because that argument is childish at best.
In any grouping of people, there are those that don't accurately represent the group. Labeling Tim Tebow because of his beliefs only goes to show your own judgemental aspects and narrow-minded views, which is ironic considering why you're probably condemning Tebow anyway. I am sure that whatever you believe in, spiritual or otherwise, I can find someone who has those same beliefs who has done something terrifically wrong. Should I point to them and automatically integrate who you are with that particular person's actions? Come on man.
I have a casual friend who I respect, both for his intelligence and his worldly views. He doesn't like Tebow. When I asked him why, he pointed to Tebow's appearance in a Pro-Life commercial during the Super Bowl.
To which I said, that's it?
Really? That's why you hope he fails?
What happened to looking at someone for all of their makeup before jumping off the cliffs of insanity?
Look, I'm pro-choice. I disagree with Tim Tebow on that issue.
But certainly not enough to cloud my entire view on who he is as an individual.
I always say to people who put Tebow down, how would you feel if that was your kid? Look at his life. How proud would you be if that was your kid?
In a world where people cheer loudly for both Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger, why are we booing Tim Tebow?
Which is what disappoints me about ESPN and Tom Jackson this Sunday night. A dialogue on the subject of faith and why people have adverse reactions to athletes that openly discuss their devotion would be a welcome conversation which may bring the two sides closer together in a moment of understanding.
Yes, the crazies on both sides of the fence will always remain.
But that has nothing to do with Tim Tebow.
He's simply a spectacular human being with incredible morals and ethics.
Besides, rooting for his failure says more about you than him.