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ISSUE: Tim Tebow and faith
OUR VIEW: Shame on critics
When high-profile athletes play well on the field and have praiseworthy personal lives, some begin to look for a chink in their armor. It seems to be a cultural expectation that we find something to criticize about modern-day heroes.
There can be no better example than Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos quarterback who rose to fame at the University of Florida, where he won two national championships and the Heisman Trophy. He also became widely known for his very public devotion to the Christian faith.
Tebow has taken the NFL by storm this year and has led his Bronco team to last-minute victories time after time in ways that often look more like answered prayers than football prowess. In doing so, he also has been harshly criticized for the expression of his faith he continually displays.
In sports, victories trump all. Since taking over as the starter, Tebow has led the Broncos from a 1-4 start to an 8-6 record. That record included six wins in a row plus four consecutive fourth-quarter comebacks.
The “Tebow Touch” is something every quarterback dreams of having from the first day under center. The ability to lead others to victory with a high-skill level is expected in the NFL. What isn’t expected is for it to be done with integrity, self respect, appreciation and, most of all, with an outward expression of appreciation and faith.
Some TV analysts — most of whom did not expect Tebow to succeed in professional football — rip his game, question his skills, mock his faith while at the same time reprimanding others for ridiculing him.
We need Tebow to fail to justify our level of discomfort with the reality of who he is. He makes some people uncomfortable. He is too nice, too considerate of others, too much of a team player and most of all too outward in his expression of religion. He is all of those things and he wins football games. That may be too much for today’s society to accept.
Would we be so quick to mock his faith if he were Muslim? Imagine if Tebow were to pray to Allah after scoring a touchdown. What if the pundits and other players in the NFL were to criticize his belief in Islam with the same reckless disregard they have shown for his Christianity. There would be an absolute outrage.
Shame on those who have been so judgmental of this man when we should be holding him up with the highest level of admiration. Finally, we have someone in the NFL we can applaud for being who he really is: a role model for all of our children, someone we can point to and say to our kids “be like Tebow.”
Evidently, you can be less criticized, less judged and less often attacked if you get busted for dealing drug, fighting dogs, attempting to rape someone or intentionally stomping on a opposing player on national television.