Here’s hoping Tim Tebow turns out to be just another dumb jock who will do anything to market himself and profit from his fame. That he’s just another member of the fraternity of athletes living in an alternate reality where it’s completely acceptable to lie, cheat and screw anyone you want because rules just don’t apply to you. Call it the Manny Being Manny world where athletes are deemed to foolish to even comprehend the consequences of their actions.
That’s the only way he could possibly get a pass for being in a Super Bowl commercial paid for by Focus on the Family, the controversial anti-abortion, anti-gay organization founded by James Dobson. If he were mindless enough to believe that this group just wanted to give his family the opportunity tell their beautiful story to the world or if he were careless enough not to understand exactly what the organization stands for, then he might deserve to be cut a little slack.
But that’s not how Tebow has ever been portrayed. Not by the media, not by Dan Shanoff, the obsessed editor of timteblog.com and certainly not by himself. Tebow is supposed to be everything that’s right in college sports, an eloquent, good-looking kid who puts his faith above all else. He’s the kid who considers the platform he’s been given as a football player far more important than his Heisman Trophy or two national championships.
But his alliance with Focus on the Family changes that perception. Now Tebow comes off as calculating, if not manipulative.
Now he’s the kid who doesn’t just want to spread his faith to everyone, but wants to do it by partnering with an organization that is very clear about what they stand for and what they think everyone else should believe in. That doesn’t just mean being pro-life. It means treating gays as though they have a disease that needs to be cured.
The truth is this has little to do with the commercial that will run on Sunday. CBS wouldn’t air it if they thought it was going to be too controversial. Most people assume it will be much more family oriented than anti-abortion.
This actually has very little to do with the pro-life issue either. It’s about an influential figure using his status to promote a group who, in denouncing a bill in Uganda that would sentence homosexuals to life in prison or the death penalty, recently said, “we respect the desire of the Ugandan people to shield their nation from the promotion of homosexuality as a lifestyle morally equivalent to one-man, one-woman marriage.”
Right. We aren’t saying you should kill ‘em off, but we wouldn’t be opposed if they were cleansed from the earth either. That’s the group Tebow is supporting.
And you know what message he’s agreeing with?
"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."
Tim Hardaway, a former NBA All Star, said that almost three years ago when he was asked how he would deal with having a gay teammate. That’s what this is about. The difference is Hardaway was already retired so it was easy for the NBA and any endorsements he might have had to sever ties with him.
Tebow is probably at the apex of his stardom. If those who cover the NFL are right about how little he’ll do as a player in the league, his value as a spokesperson will never be higher than it is right now. That’s why Focus on the Family focused in on him. Bang for their $2.5 million bucks.
The only question is, does Tebow really buy into this toxic group?
For once, let’s hope he just sold out.