It pains me to write this. It pains me to give Tim Tebow any attention at all.
But the people who hate him because of his religious beliefs pain me even more, so I must waste what I estimate will be an hour of my Monday night defending this jackass. I hope you're happy, you miserable freaks.
A month or two ago, a friend of mine forwarded me a link about Tim Tebow. I can't remember the exact details, but it got into people hating him because he's a Christian. I skimmed over it and wrote her back and essentially told her it was ridiculous.
Because in my little head, in my little world, it was ridiculous.
Don't get me wrong; I've spent the past...five? six? years hating Tim Tebow. Oh, I've hated him with the passion I usually reserve for Maureen Dowd.
But I hated him because when he played for Florida, he beat my beloved Bulldogs. I hated him because I could be watching a freaking LSU vs. Ole Miss game and Vern Lundquist would find some way to relate every single thing that happened on and off that field to Tim Tebow. I hated him because when Florida won, whomever was calling the game would always say "Tim Tebow wins the game," as if there were never any other guys on that field. I hated him because his rabid fans felt he could do no wrong and would go out of their way to tell you that at any given moment.
Random Regular Person: "Did you get that job you interviewed for?"
Random Tebow Fan: "OMG, did you know Tim Tebow was the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy? He's like the best quarterback ever!"
Random Regular Person: "Um...OK?"
I hated him because he makes out with his teammates and his coach on the field, and because he cried when he lost and haughtily directed the Gator Marching Band after they beat Georgia and because you couldn't get through a football weekend for a few years without hearing and seeing him everywhere like he was the only blasted person who'd ever played football ever in our lifetimes. I mean, the man's got his own freaking verb now. (Google "tebowing" if you don't believe me.)
And that's why almost everyone else I knew hated him. We jokingly called him "Baby Jesus," because of his ability to do no wrong in the eyes of some folks, and yes, we poked fun at his being very open about his religion, but it wasn't because we couldn't stand his faith. It was because his fans and the college sports media had turned him into their own little messiah. Hating Tim Tebow was an entertaining pasttime for many people. Because of football.
Most of my fellow Tebow haters were Georgia fans or fans of other SEC teams. Most of us are Christians ourselves. Most of us think God and football are the two greatest things in the world. So, naturally, when Tebow played our teams, and no matter what, we were forced to hear about how fabulous he was, we hated him. It's part of the sport. You know, those games people play where they get all competitive and work hard and win. Remember when people were allowed to win in this country?
It doesn't mean that we'd pull a gun on the dude if we bumped into him in the produce section at Publix or something like that. It simply meant that on every Saturday in the months of September, October, and November, we were going to make fun of that idiot until we were Florida blue in the face. And maybe on some other days too.
So, after my discussion with the friend who sent me the link (who, by the way, lives in California by way of New York), I decided to do a little research. I assumed she was just unaware of our little SEC culture.
Boy, was I surprised. Ol' Tebow is in the NFL now, and while the hoopla hasn't been quite as bad, at least not in my world (I mean, who cares about the Broncos?), it has really picked up in recent weeks following the man's success on the field.
People are complaining because he prays and is openly religious on the field. They can't stand it. They say there is no place for it in the NFL. They rail against him because he's not ashamed to be who he is. As one who is a big fan of personal freedom, naturally, this annoys me.
1) I often find people who criticize others for their religious beliefs only do so because they have some kind of issue with their own beliefs or lack thereof. I don't care if you're a Christian, a Muslim, or an atheist, just so long as you as you let others be and keep out of the business of trying to tell people how to live their lives. I mean, in what way is it harming you that a man likes to pray on the football field? Is your life so empty that you have to go around being the religion police for other people?
2) The NFL is a private organization that has the right to create its own rules. When I see someone say "how can the NFL let Tebow be so open about his religion" I just have to laugh and say go read the U.S. Constitution. People seem to think they should get everything they want these days, so much that they do not seem to realize that there is a difference between, say, the NFL and a public elementary school. Until Roger Goodell announces a ban of prayer on the field, and let's face it, that most likely won't happen ever if the NFL knows what's good for it, you entitled little jerks can go back to looking for copies of the Ten Commandments in courthouses across the US and decorating your winter solstice trees.
3) Let's take a look at some others in the NFL. You've got countless convicted criminals. You've got guys accused of murder and rape. You've got womanizers and guys with nine plus kids by nine plus women. You've got drug addicts. You've got guys who are unbelievably disrespectful to fans, the people who ultimately pay their salaries. You've guys that can't form complete sentences. You've got Michael freakin' Vick for goodness sake. And the worst thing you've got to complain about is a guy who prays?? This is the guy you don't want your kids to see? I mean, really?
Now if you want to make fun of Tim Tebow, by all means go ahead. I was just reading this article by Todd Starnes, and he gets on to another player for mocking Tebow on the field. I don't have a problem with that. All's fair in love and football. Is it tasteless? Probably, but that's not my call. I've seen worse.
As a matter of fact, the other day, my dad and I were talking about our fantasy football teams, and he mentioned needing a quarterback. I jokingly told him he should trade for Tebow, and he said "Only if we get points for prayers instead of touchdowns."
We laughed. My dad the self-describe agnostic and me the Christian. We laughed and then we moved on and made fun of some other player for his hair or something.
It's fun to make fun of the competition, but it's not right to tell someone they can't believe what they want and pray when they want. That's what they do in countries like Iran and North Korea. If you're into that sort of thing, I'm pretty sure we can make arrangements for you to relocate.
At the end of the day, and while it goes against everything I stand for to say this, Tim Tebow is probably a nice guy. He's good-looking. He's a pretty good football player. But I can't stand him. And I can't respectfully hate him now thanks to a bunch of imbeciles who probably don't even watch football because "it's too violent" or whatever.
But I'm not going to do what many have done and hold him on a pedestal because he's a Christian either. (Isn't there something in the Bible about worshiping false idols and such?) I know many good Christians who aren't football players, and I don't treat them any differently because of their beliefs. I know good people who aren't Christians, and I don't treat them any differently. And I don't know Tebow personally, I don't know what he does in his downtime, so I won't deem him a "hero" like many have. But I will not stand by and watch people attack someone's personal freedom simply because it bothers them.
If that's the biggest bother you have in life, then I think you need to be paying more attention to yourself and less attention to Tim Tebow.
OK, now that I got that out of the way, let me just post this to make up for it:
See, now that's funny. Hearing a bunch of self-entitled crybabies whine about how offended they are that a man believes in God, not so funny. And pretty damn annoying, especially when one is just trying to enjoy a football game.