I was watching/listening to Sports Center the other day, (it was on where I happened to be at the time), and they had dedicated a story to the fact that Tim Tebow was the most controversial figure in sports today. Hell, it was their headline story. The first thing that popped in my mind when I heard this was, “Tim Tebow, really?”
It’s laughable, really. Sports today are filled with players that have committed just about every crime on the books, and some have even served prison time and come back to the game, but the evangelical Christian is the most controversial out of all of them. I’m not saying that he is not controversial, because anyone with an extreme point of view on anything will be. I am saying to call him the most is a bit ridiculous.
I will admit, I watch football, but I really don’t pay that close attention to who the players are, unless I am involved in fantasy football. The only reason I know anything about the few players off the field that I do is because it is plastered all over the news, as if the actions of Michael Vick are of equal if not greater importance as world affairs. (Hint to all the sports fans out there, THEY’RE NOT!!! Not even close.)
So, Tim is a Christian who wears his religion on his sleeve for the entire world to see. Big deal. Last time I checked, he was an American citizen, and as such, his right to do so is protected by the First Amendment. So you don’t like what he is saying. Guess what? The First Amendment works in your favor to, by saying that you have every right to express your disagreement with him, or just completely ignore him.
I know one of the big things that people went nuts over was the Focus on the Family commercial he did that aired during Super Bowl XLIV. Yes, the commercial had a “pro-life” stance. But did anyone really WATCH the commercial? His mom told the story of her pregnancy, which was a difficult one. I found it rather touching. Also, the pro-life message was not forceful, and not once was the word abortion said. I am pro-choice, but I did not find the commercial offensive, but more of a story about one mother's love for her unborn child despite the odds.
And let’s address the folks who tried to tell us that Super Bowl commercials are not the place to get political. Really? Did I miss some unwritten rule that states this? I mean, it’s not like there is much that they won’t allow. Why is that? Because if you can come up with the money to pay the EXTREMELY overpriced per second fee to have your commercial shown during the Super Bowl, they will be happy to let you. The truth of the matter is not the content that mattered to the programmers; it was that Focus on the Family could come up with enough money to pay for a 30 second ad of which they were happy to accept.
On the Sports Center piece, they had a Denver Bronco’s fan say that they just didn’t know if they could support the team because Tim Tebow and how he expresses his beliefs. I have a question, how can you call yourself a fan of the Denver Broncos then? If one player's lifestyle/beliefs can throw you like that, were you really that into the team to begin with? Especially one that isn’t even in the starting lineup; he’s the friging backup Quarterback. I know true football fans. For 21 years I lived in a house of dyed in the wool hard core Jets fans. They stuck by them through crappy seasons, terrible players, bad couches & couching. They never stayed, and love them just as much today as they ever have. Hell, they could draft Hitler, Charles Manson, & Satan himself, they would still stand behind their team. They would question the management decision behind it, but they would be there, every game, decked out in their Jets attire cheering them on. So, Mr. Easily Offended, you need to turn in all your Broncos gear at the door, because sir, you are not a true fan.
I may not agree with his approach on expressing himself, and I do find the message to go to extremes. (Dude, telling your fans that they are going to hell if they don’t believe what you do is not good PR.) I will, though, defend his right to believe what he does, and say how he feels. To defend speech and beliefs that you do not agree with as well as that you do agree is to know the true meaning of free speech. Freedom of speech and religion is a two way street.