By Pat Shannan
The nation’s most talked-about athlete of the moment is Tim Tebow. He was the Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida who played on two national championship teams while unashamedly proclaiming his devotion to Christianity by posting scripture chapters and verses in his eye paint. Now that he is the starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos in the National Football League, not much more could be said about his athletic prowess that hasn’t already been written by the national media.
However, Atlantic Monthly magazine may have hit a new low in Christian-bashing, when it ran an article in November naming Tebow as one of the “15 Most Divisive Athletes in Recent History,” binding him together with various bad-boy felons as dog-abuser Michael Vick, perjurer Barry Bonds, gambler Pete Rose and civilly-convicted wife-killer O.J. Simpson.
Conspicuously missing from the list are pro basketball’s Ron Artest, whose maniacal temper sent him charging into the stands in a wild attack on fans during a brawl between the Indiana Pacers and the Pistons in Detroit, and former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, who served two years in prison for taking a concealed pistol into a nightclub and, after too much imbibing, clumsily shooting himself in the leg.
How Tebow is more “divisive” than these dubious fellows and a few hundred others is hard to figure, and this attempt by writer Justin Pedersen to pull him down to the level of this notorious mob is but another cheap shot at belittling his solid faith in Jesus Christ.
Tebow is “notorious” for taking a knee in prayer on the sidelines prior to the game and thanking his Lord first in post-game interviews. One would think that even parents with no religious background would prefer this type of role model to the tattoo-laden hoodlums who do a “look-at-me” dance in the end zone after scoring a touchdown—something for which they are under contract and paid to do in the first place.
How else did Tebow gain this notoriety? Certainly it has something to do with the Super Bowl commercial two years ago where he appeared with his mother saying he was happy about the fact that she didn’t abort him. Because of her health problems, doctors had advised her to do so in 1987, but she refused.
Could it be his 2011 best-selling book, Through My Eyes, now with nearly a half million copies in print? It reflects the wholesome family values parents Bob and Pam Tebow provided for Tim and his four older siblings through home schooling and Bible study—something not very appealing to a corporate news media dedicated to furthering government schools and a dumbed-down, amoral world.
Or maybe it is because his persona is recognized as “genuine” by his teammates, who are in no way jealous or envious of their leader on the field but are quick to say that he is a “winner.” When Tebow took over as Denver’s starting quarterback in mid-season, the Broncos went from the bottom to the top of the AFC West Division, winning seven out of eight.
Who needs drugs, barroom brawls or a felony rape conviction to gain ill fame with today’s news media? Apparently, one can get it now by just living a godly life.
Pat Shannan is a contributing editor of AMERICAN FREE PRESS. He is also the author of several videos and books including One in a Million: An IRS Travesty, I Rode With Tupper and Everything They* Ever Told Me Was a Lie.