Well here’s a position I certainly didn’t expect to find myself in; defending Tim Tebow? Me? I spent most of Tim Tebow’s career rooting against the former Florida Gator, as he was piling up national titles and winning a Heisman trophy. I didn’t like Tebow or his smug head coach Urban Meyer. Now I’m sticking up for the guy against a Floridian no less.
I may have said this before but I don’t like my athletes squeaky clean. Something about a guy being “too good” rubs me the wrong way; I prefer more bombastic but genuine sports figure like Charles Barkley, or former Temple head coach John Chaney, who say exactly what’s on their mind and NOT what everyone expects them to say. I find their blunt and brutal honesty endearing (shocker right?)and wish more people would have the nerve to not hide behind a public facade. Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Grant Hill? Can’t stand any of them (although I can recognoze a class act like Hill when I see one.)
I’m also not a big “God” guy. I’m a firm believer that 12 years in Catholic school (especially good ones) will deter one from religion more than encourage it for most intellgent people. However, many people in my life still take their religion very seriously, and I respect that; it’s not for me to decide what others put their faith in or their belief system. I only ask that you follow George Carlin’s Ultimate Commandment: “Keep thy religion to thyself.”
So now that I’ve gone into great detail explaining why Tim Tebow should be my least favorite athlete on the planet, I’m going to drop a bomb on you: I like Tim Tebow. The guy has grown on me like a fungus. As an intensely competitive person, I love the guy’s drive to win, and ability to almost will a team to victory (I think that’s the only valuable ability he has, but that’s another debate). I ate up that ESPN feature in which Tebow was miked up, interacting with both opposing players and his teammates, telling his wide receiver “Don’t worry about that dropped pass, now you’ll just catch the game winner.” It was very clear in the piece that players on both sides love the guy, or at the very least, get a kick out of this Leave It to Beaver character playing with the fire of a gladiator. In my opinion, they (and I) like him because he’s REAL.
He’s obviously real in a much different way than a Barkley or a Chaney. But after not wanting to hear about this uber-religious goody two-shoes at Florida, I’m finally buying it. Tebow’s act is SO over the top, and SO naive and innocent, that I think he took me the other direction. I honestly can’t believe someone could be almost cartoonishly good without it being sincere. It’s shocking because, in today’s skeptical world, we have a hard time believing people like that still exist. Jordan, Jeter, and even Tiger Woods weren’t really “good” guys. They simply refused to be controversial or do anything that would even remotely place them in a negative light. They were more protective than anything else; never wanting to put themselves out there with a controversial stance or comment, even if it was the truth. Well, we found out that these guys were protective for various good reasons, as they, like many people, each have their own personal demons.
But Tebow is not afraid to be controversial or take a stance on something he believes in firmly. Just last year, he filmed an anti-abortion commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Regardless of your opinion on the matter, there’s no questioning the fact that it takes major stones, or cojones as my cousin might say, to air your personal and religious beliefs to the world to support a cause, simply because it’s the right thing to do in your mind. Tim Tebow is a marketing dream come true; why toy with that by stirring up an extremely controversial topic that could alienate literally half your marketing audience? The answer is you don’t, unless you’re nuts – or you actually believe what you’re promoting.
Ceretainly it gets annoying as Tebow repeats the same mantra before every press conference and interview about thanking the Lord his Savior, etc. The automatic response and reflexive manner in which the words come from Tebow do make it sound rehearsed and canned. But has anyone ever been to a religious service? At least in the Catholic church, chants and reflexive answers are pretty much the substance of an entire service. If you endure any type of extensive religious schooling, everything is drilled into you from the time you are a child: the prayers, when to sit, stand, or kneel, the responses at the proper times. As an extremely religious person, it’s no surprise to me at all that Tebow fires off a very practiced mantra before every response – he’s likely been trained that way for his entire life. At least when Tebow does it, I get the sense that he actually believes it; not because of the words or how they’re spoken, but because, up to this point, his actions have reflected his beliefs.
So Tebow will lead his Broncos onto the field at Foxboro today, and if you read my column from yesterday, they will most likely be beaten soundly. AS much as Tim has grown on me, to me, that’s a good thing – because while I believe Tebow sounds genuine, I am genuinely tired of hearing the sound of his name coming from my television set.
by The Heir to the Throne a.k.a. Jean Paul Negron
Without a doubt, I’m excited to be contributing an opposing view for “He said/He said” on The Home of the Thrill, but before continuing I need to start by saying, “First and foremost, I would like to thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ” (insert laugh track here).
You might ask yourself, why would I laugh – that’s not funny. Well for those of you who know me, you may have detected my special brand of sarcasm. It would be fair to say that those words from someone like myself might not be a genuine statement, but regardless of what my personal beliefs and faith are, those words are not typically found at the beginning of an average post or article from most anybody. At least that’s true in today’s world – who knows what we might be hearing and reading from our future bloggers, columnists, athletes, and politicians.
Don’t get me wrong, after seeing and reading countless interviews of Tim it is clear that he is devout. He appears to be a really good guy that has done great things for the less fortunate around the world and at home. He is an inspiration to children with disabilities and for that he rightly deserves a pat on the back and support for the charities he promotes.
However, the questions being raised here are: Is what we hear from Tebow at the beginning of almost every post game press conference and interview genuine? Is he praising the Lord because he means it or is he just saying it because that’s all he knows or what he’s been programmed to say? Are we morphing into a country where becoming a popular public figure requires that your faith be professed repeatedly to your audience? It seems to me that even raising these questions in our current climate might be considered inappropriate and puts a target on those posing the questions.
In Tim’s interviews he typically starts off with his signature statement, “First and foremost, I would like to thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ”; it’s like a reflex, like breathing – almost obsessive like. He continues on from there and answers questions with a pseudo Leave it to Beaver like chuckle, with continuous positive affirmations for his coaches, teammates, and fans. RAH RAH SIS BOOM BA! Shoot it’s darn right inspiring, but is it really genuine? Is it natural to be so gosh darn good and positive all the time? Should you not balance these positive affirmations with a peppering of cynicism? COME ON TIM, no one is perfect and it’s hard to watch without wondering if you really mean it.
The media has certainly added to the phenomena that has become The Tim Tebow show. Every time he faces the camera or takes the field people just can’t wait to see what his next “godly” move or “eye-black” statement might be. We as Americans love to build up our public figures and we relish in their slide down. It’s sad to say but I feel one day we will see a Britney like exposé of our good’ol Timmy. His downfall will only be so newsworthy because of his seemingly pious nature.
Come on Tim…Show us the real Tebow. Use a curse word every now and then. It’s OK to negatively express your dislike on your performance or your teammate’s failures. It’s OK to be angry. Sometimes it’s what makes us human. It’s what makes us GENUINE.