Go ahead, hate Tim Tebow.
Hate the hype machine that’s anointed him as the second coming. Hate
the around-the-clock coverage of his every move. Hate the fact that his
shirtless picture rocketed to the top of Google Trends.
Go ahead, hate what he stands for.
Hate the overt Christianity. Hate any holier-than-thou perception he
gives you. Hate the fact that he talks about things you don’t want to
hear football players talk about.
But don’t spend a second of your time wringing your hands,
hating the fact that he’ll appear for thirty seconds during the
oh-so-sacred Super Bowl.
Because when the former Florida Gators quarterback and aspiring
NFL prospect appears during a commercial break of Super Bowl XLIV, it’s
only the next logical step in a progression that’s been
slower-developing than his throwing release.
The handwriting has been on the wall for some time, as bold clear as the Bible verses printed on his eye black.
Tebow wants to use his position of power to improve the world.
So he’ll be there, likely sandwiched between the buxom babes of
Go Daddy and the 134th beer commercial of the day, with his mother,
Pam. She’ll talk about her tumultuous 1987 pregnancy, when she was
advised to terminate her pregnancy due to health complications. She’ll
talk about how she carried the baby to term and how he grew up to be
the Heisman-winning, divisive figure we all know as Tim.
The ad, sponsored by conservative Christian group Focus on the Family, is the subject of a growing wave of controversy.
After all, it addresses, if not directly, the subject of
abortion. A subject that inflames the public with the heat of 1,000 SEC
The message of the ad — and we’re really left to speculate
because reports to this point have failed to paint a complete picture
— is that none of this would have happened if Mrs. Tebow had heeded
the medical advice.
Many groups are imploring CBS to cut the spot. It seems everyone has an opinion.
On Tuesday, “The View” co-host Joy Behar said, “The only
argument against any of it is, that, you know, he could just as easily
become some kind of a rapist pedophile. I mean, you don’t know what
someone’s going to be.”
Just like Behar was able to state her opinion, Tebow should be
able to share his — so long as it’s done cordially. Again, there is
nothing to suggest this will be a grotesque, shock-value publicity
stunt filled with attacks.
Still, it’s a topic bound to get people riled up.
Most people probably prefer to keep their football and their social issues away from each other.
Tebow isn’t most people.
If his first action as a “professional” football player is this,
what makes you think it will be the last time he gets up on his
In no way is this a ringing endorsement of the pro-life
message. It’s an endorsement of people taking a giant step back and
looking at this so-called controversy in the proper perspective.
If other ads can glorify promiscuity and drunkenness, why can’t the
puritans have their chance to rebut? Isn’t that part of what makes our
First Amendment so great?
The first question is how much of a nuisance will this be to
those who don’t want to see it. The second is how much of an impact
will it really have.
A vast majority of Americans already have their mind
irreversibly made up about the issue. What makes anyone think that a
half-minute of Tebow and his mom is going to affect a great change?
Without the preceding histrionics surrounding it, how many people would have just seen it air live and shrug it off as weird?
At the end of the day, it’s thirty seconds of life. Thirty
seconds for some people to enjoy and thirty seconds for others to turn
their nose up at.
After that, it will be over. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees will
be back on the screen in the big game. Conceivably, two minutes later,
no one will be thinking about it.
The cynic would say that controversy is the lifeblood of
advocacy groups. The more outrage, the more attention. The more
attention, the bigger the impact.
Maybe this is all by design.
If there is an issue, it’s that someone like Tebow, whose
struggled mightily in his preparations for Saturday’s Senior Bowl, is
setting himself up for an uphill climb in the NFL.
Here he is, an undrafted player garnering all this attention —
much of it negative. There’s a very real chance it could adversely
affect a team’s willingness to take him on. It’s not the typical kind
of baggage, but it’s baggage nonetheless.
One get the sense, however, that Tebow doesn’t care about that. Those
who have covered him say there is no shtick to his act. This is who he
is: a football player who might care more about his message than his
It’s looking like he’ll be sharing that message on Super Bowl Sunday.
For thirty short seconds, he’ll have the country’s ear.
Why not wait until we hear exactly what he has to say before we hate?