Kinda tired of Tebow hating…

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On Sunday after the Denver Broncos beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, I headed to the gas station to pick up a newspaper for my mom. I ran into some disgruntled Steelers fans who did not appreciate my Broncos shirt. After politely listening to their not so polite critique of my favorite team’s quarterback, I thanked them for their passion and encouraged them to keep it classy.

I get the emotions involved in being a football fan. I understand the ups and downs of following a team through a season or 30. I’ve been a Broncos fan for most of my life. This season has been ridiculous. I thoroughly understand being mad at a player or a team for beating the team or players you love.  We can talk about the Raiders if you’d like. I get rivalry. But here’s what I don’t get: I don’t understand how people can hate Tim Tebow.

You have to try too hard to hate Tim Tebow. If you hate a football player because he’s known for faith, a work ethic and being a positive role model, your hatred masks some other issue you have with God or with life.

This idea that Tebow is too vocal about his faith drives me crazy. It’s his faith. It’s his life. It’s his right to say what he wants to say when he gets the opportunity to speak. He’s not preaching a gospel of prosperity. He’s not shoving his faith down your throat. He’s speaking love from his heart and hating that is akin to hating cat videos on youtube. We are assaulted with a zillion images and messages a day from so many forms of media and the people we encounter. Really his are offensive?

Tebow succeeds at football (and life) because he has a passionate faith in God and a work ethic that exceeds even his talent. He has charisma, he has humility and he’s clever. Why the backlash? And yeah, I’m looking especially at you, fellow Christians. I don’t care if you cheer against the Gators. Quit hating on a respectable man.

I’ll tell you what I hate. I hate this idea that hating stuff is cool. I’ve been incredibly cynical at times but I promise you,  it’s cooler to like stuff. It’s cooler to embrace positive people. Wasting energy on tearing everything down or whining about some NFL quarterback who shouldn’t be able to do his job because his spirals aren’t pretty? Figure out your job and go do it.

And if Tebow isn’t representing Christianity the way you want to see it represented, get out there and do it yourself. Talk to a neighbor. Make a friend. Share your faith in the way that makes the most sense to you. But don’t hate on a guy who’s loudly living out his call. You could do something positive for the world on a small or large scale instead of whining about what Tebow does. You do you. Let Tebow be Tebow.

Don’t confuse the hype around Tebow with the human being Tim Tebow. Show me a legitimate story of him being a huge jerkface or him doing something that wrecks some part of your life personally and I’ll change my mind. Until that happens, I’ll say it again. Tebow haters have issues. Or as my friend Dave puts it, “I hate that I can’t hate Tim Tebow.”

4 responses »

  1. slamb, I think you know I don’t profess to being a Christian, and I don’t even like football, but I really agree with everything you said. My husband has been a Broncos fan for as long as I’ve known him and the TV is always on when they’re playing. I’ve never paid any attention to the games, but I’ve found myself watching lately. Why? Because Tebow has managed to make the game more interesting to me – I’m waiting to see what miracle he’s going to pull off this time. OK, he’s not multiplying loaves and fishes or walking on water or healing the blind. I may not be religious, but I AM spiritual, and it seems to me like he’s channeling something. My husband commented that it’s like he was called on a mission, but instead of it being to some godforsaken third world country it’s being a quarterback for the Broncos. He’s using his position and fame to spread the word and the media is giving him every opportunity. I’m sure we’re all just holding our breath waiting for photos to surface of him snorting coke off a hooker’s a$$ or for him to get hit with a paternity suit. He’s a young man in the grip of fame. I hope he can hold it together. As for the haters, they’re gonna hate. I admire the way you handled the disgruntled Steelers fans. There are plenty of Christians out there who use their beliefs to hate others (I know, they say love the sinner, hate the sin – but they always seem to say something really hateful right after that). I’ve been fortunate to also meet Christians who were truly trying to live by the teachings of Christ. I think those are marvelous teachings, I try to live by them myself and raised my kids with those values. I don’t have any more of a problem with Tebow using his limelight to represent Christianity than I do with other football stars using theirs to raise awareness about cancer or muscular dystrophy or whatever. I really don’t see how it can be a bad thing.

  2. I think there is a legitimate concern one can have about the seeming need for our media-dirven culture to have Christian ‘celebrities’ like Tim Tebow. When you stop to think that the most well-known Christians have the biggest platforms (Joel Osteen, Kirk Cameron, Rick Warren, Pat Robertson) it becomes to easy to equate fame with authority and our culture often does. Just look at this election and the focus on the Evangelical vote. Do you think that James Dobson represents the political beliefs of all Evangelicals? Probably not. But he is the one who is most famous…more famous that Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, or even Rob Bell (outside our Christian bubble, that is). That gives him a bigger platform than all three of the others put together, even if he doesn’t represent all Evangelical viewpoints.

    Sure, I think Tim Tebow is a good guy. But if you hear him preach and teach, there is plenty in his theology with which one can disagree. I point simply to the controversy around the Super Bowl commercial a year or so back. Fine, Tim Tebow can use his fame to make a religio-politcal point. But does being good at sports make him the prime example for supporting his views? If he had numerous health problems when he was born or impaired his mother’s health, would it be the same? (By that I mean would his platform still be there…I don’t doubt his pro-life convictions). While I think a conservative Christian can be a very nice person, I certainly maintain the right to disagree with his or her views. I can like a man like Tebow, but completely disagree with his Christian beliefs and wish he would keep his focus on the field rather than on his faith. That doesn’t make me a hater. I am a pastor and even I get annoyed when people talk to me in platitudes and Christian cliches. I don’t need to hear that from a Quarterback!

    The difference between my church and the church of the professional athlete is that success in life does not earn you an automatic platform. As one sports commentator pointed out, shouldn’t religious athletes be pointing to the sky/kneeling/praying/thanking the Lord when OTHERS do well, too? Or vigorously thanking God when they lose the game, but played hard? We pray when things are good and when they are bad. I am sure Tim Tebow does, too, at the end of the day. But the cameras aren’t on then…

  3. Nathan, I get disagreeing with his theology. It’s the intense hatred and spite for him that I don’t understand. I don’t care if it’s Tim Tebow or Reverend Lovejoy… Christians need to find a loving way to disagree with each other. And Elaine agrees with me, so there!

  4. This entry being thought provoking, I raised the issue with my husband (who DOES actively hate on Tebow), asking him why he dislikes the young man so much. His response was interesting: while he is no fan of in-your-face Christians, he’s much more miffed by the unearned hype surrounding Tebow. In his opinion, Tebow is at worst an average player, and at best “raw” or “green”. He is, as far as Eddie is concerned, being floated by Denver’s superb offense, in particular it’s stellar O-line… And he doesn’t like credit for a whole team’s talent being heaped upon one inexperienced player.

    I think there’s some justice in that. The Broncos’s offensive line is providing him with pocket protection the likes of which I’ve never seen in my many years of watching football. I don’t think Tebow’s a bad player, or a bad dude in general, but I don’t think he’s the second coming of John Elway either.

    I think a good deal of the media frenzy surrounding him is based on his faith and personal beliefs rather than his performance on the field. Christian nation or no, it’s highly unusual for anyone (much less a man and a professional athlete) to proclaim his virginity to the world… And while I understand that his upbringing might lead him to believe his celebrity is a vehicle for spreading Christ’s love, or message, or what have you… I’m not a fan of celebrities who use their fame as a soap box regardless of what they’re preaching. Think Tom Cruise and Scientology, or Kanye and George Bush, etc.

    Thanks for the thought- and discussion-provoking entry! Miss you muchly. ❤

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