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.”