Tebow is probably one of the more dichotomizing figures in professional sports. For a 2nd and now probably a 3rd string quarterback, no one draws this much attention. Perhaps its because he's a former Heisman trophy winner, but there have obviously been plenty of Heisman trophy winning quarterbacks who have just fizzled out in the NFL without much noise. Ever heard of Gino Torretta? Is it because he's such a unique player, with talent but bad form, and amazing ability to keep a play alive?
Or does he receive bad press and find people rooting against him simply because he is an outspoken Christian athlete? One lad believes such is true, and another responds to that complaint. Check it out here. It's a thoughtful article.
But Tuesday, CBS Sports NFL analyst Randy Cross said that media like me are bashing Tebow simply because he's openly Christian.....My personal belief is there are people in the media, people in the stands, who are predisposed to see a guy like that fail ... just because he's so public about the way he feels."
Now I know Randy Cross personally. By personally I mean that I once saw him walking out of Perimeter church one Sunday as I was going in. So this is obviously getting personal. It gets even more personal because before one of Tebow's bowl games, I was actually interviewed by Rick Montgomery from the Kansas City Star because my blog post related to a story he was working on about Tebow, Christianity, and sports.
Anyhow, I really appreciated Rick Reiley's article here and actually end up siding more with him than my good friend, or passing acquaintance Randy Cross.
1.) First of all, Cross and all Christians can sometimes be paranoid jump the gun in "seeing" persecution. Sometimes Christians can see "persecution," meaning that people don't like them or root for them to succeed because of Jesus. Sometimes people don't like them or want them to succeed, and it has nothing to do with Jesus. In fact it is because they are just not very likeable, or arrogant, or separatist. Of course Tebow is none of these things, but some folks like to play the "persecution" card when there really is no persecution. I don't think every anti-Tebow thought is anti-Jesus. In fact many are not.
2.) Journalists are supposed to be unbiased. Any reader of this blog knows that I consider that task impossible. However, the good ones don't let their bias control or dictate their writing. Reily has a track record of covering religious athletes. You can limit your bias and that's his point.
I've criticized Tiger Woods enough for 10 men. He's Buddhist. Am I anti-Buddhist?Whose god Tim Tebow worships has zero to do with my criticism of him. It's his business. Like I care. Tebow is about the 1,297th-most outwardly Christian athlete I've covered. He doesn't stick his god down my throat. Doesn't genuflect after touchdowns.
And even if he did, it wouldn't affect what I write about him. I've covered openly devout athletes for 33 years. Lord knows I'm used to it.
3.) Look at the kind words Reiley has to say about Tebow.
Doesn't answer every question with, "Well, first, let me thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and, yes, I think I did pull my groin in the third quarter."
Yes Christian athletes can say, "Our team played well or it didn't play well," just like you can say, "Thank you," to a job well done at work.
4.) Reiley correctly blasts my good buddy Randy Cross for his duplicity.
In that case, what does that make Cross after he tweeted this about former New York Giants wide receiver and outwardly Christian David Tyree, after Tyree publicly raged against gay marriage:
Same sex marriage will create "anarchy"? Cross tweeted. Did some of the glue on Tyree's helmet effect (sic) his brain function? Let's stay in 21st century okay?
Tim Tebow has the same same-sex views on gay marriage as David Tyree.
5.) Some bad stats.
Look, roughly 85 percent of Americans are Christian. While that doesn't necessarily mean that 85 percent of media members are Christian, chances are a vast majority are. So, why would all these Christians be so hell-bent on crucifying this kid for his Christianity? It'd be like Al Jazeera ripping Khadafi for being Muslim.
Not sure where these stats came from. Certainly NOT Barna and his "ship is sinking" percentages he likes to throw our way that cause people to freak out. Obviously for Reily, "Christian" has become an adjective to describe a person who isn't a Muslim. But even that stat seems high to me.....
6.) Is it possible some in the media probably don't like Tebow or want him to succeed? Sure. Does it seep through in their journalism? Possibly. Some people don't like that cat because he is an outspoken Christian. Its not too big a stretch to think that some bias does seep through their "pages." I just don't know if Cross is accurate in his complaint about "the media." Even Tim Tebow bashers like Colin Cowherd like Tebow after having him on his show.