Last week, our news editor Jamilah King dug into the hype around Tim Tebow, a noted football… player… guy. Look, I don’t know sports. Fortunately, Jamilah does:

There’s no doubt that Tebow is a world-class athlete […] but the fervor surrounding Tebow has little to do with his actual playing ability. He’s an evangelical Christian who proudly and publicly backs conservative causes. That, of course, is not an anomaly in professional sports, nor should it be all that controversial. Yet it’s a prominent part of the narrative being written about Tebow as sports’ supposedly most endangered species: the underrated “good guy.” Or, through another lens: the white, God-fearing athlete who believes in so-called “traditional” family values.

Through that latter lens, Tebow’s narrative represents an enduring double standard in sports, one in which athletes are free to endorse conservative causes, while others are hounded as bad apples for progressive political stances, particularly those involving race.

Jamilah goes on to break down the history of pro athletes’ political options in a way even I can grasp, and puts Tebow’s relationship with far-right Focus On The Family in context, with input from Dave Zirin and David Leonard. Race, politics, religion, reproductive rights, and football. No contentious topics there! Here’s a very small sample of what you had to say.

Gari Buttar:

So, according to Tim Tebow, I do not face discrimination, which is total bullshit. And, according to Tim Tebow, I’m a person who is deviant and immoral, simply for trying to live my life in as honest and true a manner as possible. I’m sorry, but this does not in any way seem to me to be a position of love towards ALL human beings. Tebow is a very exciting player to watch, but he holds some personal beliefs which are quite damaging to others, and which have led some to even end their lives via suicide. So, sorry if I am not jumping on the Tebow bandwagon.

wadegraham:

Hadn’t heard about the backlash against Hodges, that’s shameful. Was heartening to see several Green Bay Packers players (although not the big names) last year come out in support of the mass protests in Madison against Gov. Walker’s attack on labor and teachers. There are definitely professional players out there ready to stand up for something, but they rarely get media support unless it’s backed by a professional, expensive campaign (i.e. Focus on the Family).

Shelli Victorino:

Wow, what a logically unsound and narrow-minded article. First off, your comparison of Tebow and Rashad is not a very solid one. If you are going to make an issue about about race, present some better examples. Secondly, you make a huge assumption when you say “Tebow explicitly endorses a political agenda” just by thanking God at games. I have never heard him say anything about politics.

As an ardent feminist, I honestly do feel it’s a breath of fresh air to hear a public figure say that he’s excited to spend time with a little girl who’s had 73 surgeries, rather than public figures who publicly degrade women. How can you hate on that? You spend more time talking about Focus on the Family than Tebow himself. It is quite clear that although you obviously consider yourself a progressive, you are very narrow-minded in your analysis. Don’t be so quick to judge, and open your mind to the idea that not everything is so binary.

Respectfully yours, A brown, gay, Stanford educated Christian liberal.

shannahk:

The big point here (and i’m not seeing too much on it) - the way Tebow getting lifted up onto the pedestal/altar, whatever you want to call it is exactly what the article says - the boy is WHITE.

More evidence - i’m in the laundrymat, listening to some Clear Channel station DJs babble about him. I’m neither proud nor embarrassed of my football ignorance, but couldn’t remember exactly who this guy is. The moment they said, “sure, I get tired of the hype, but it’s so nice to have a football player who’s being recognized for something other than drug use or violence against women…” — as soon as they framed it like that, i says to myself, “damn, i get it - this guy’s white! that’s why they’re so excited.”

So what it really says to me (other than pissing me off that people once again want to tell my what MY uterus produces and when) is the level of hate dished out on black football players.

Jnique27:

As a Christian and women’s and Black rights activist, I am sad that in today’s culture Christians are always portrayed as right-wing, anti-abortionist, anti-Gay haters. There are some of us who have Christ as our head and also believe that the State should not determine a woman’s right to choose and that white supremacy, racism, homophobia, and sexism are not of God and should be eradicated to create a society based on compassion and Love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34-35, New International Version)


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