Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Want Tim Tebow To Fail! (Part Grand Finale)

In order to grasp the full merit of this article I suggest you read the previous two posts first.

When did character come to mean so little in the psyche of American culture? When Bill Clinton was President of the United States, arguably the most powerful political position on earth, he displayed a gross lack of character when he cheated on his wife with an intern, publicly lied to cover it up, and cost the country millions of dollars in revenue spent on uncovering the truth. Bill Clinton’s support skyrocketed as people indignantly suggested that he be left alone to focus on the business of running the country (a lack of integrity and character not withstanding, nor the fact that he had perjured himself by lying under oath). While Clinton and his embattled wife cited a “vast right wing conspiracy” as the reason for the unmitigated persecution, the lead counsel for the prosecution, Ken Starr, was vilified in the press as being on a “witch hunt” and called all kinds of unrepeatable names.

So why do people dislike Tim Tebow so much? Has he displayed poor judgment as a student athlete or leader? Has he been arrested for a DUI, or armed robbery, or shoplifting? Has he raped anyone or gotten anyone pregnant and denied paternity? Has he cheated on exams, skipped class, or broken the law in any way? Has he lied to the NCAA, “violated team rules,” or been spotted at night clubs over-indulging himself? The answer to all these questions is a resounding no! But there are tons of athletes at every level who have been cited for all of these and more, yet they are still celebrated. And therein lies the problem. Tebow is too pristine for our entitled, overindulged, and perverse sensibilities. We would like nothing better than to discover that he is as flawed as the rest of us a la Tiger Woods. Pearlman and his kind have missed the boat on this one though. You see, we've never claimed that Christianity and perfection are interchangeable terms.

We are a nation that enjoys creating heroes and then destroying them. It makes us feel better about ourselves when we can point to those we celebrate and say, “He/She struggles with the same things I do and so they’re no better than me.” That’s why the Tiger Woods scandal was so newsworthy while myriad others live the same despicable and hypocritical lives every day, in anonymity. It’s hard to see how Tebow’s life, which is clearly committed to promoting good and serving the needy, can be considered dangerous, while others are out there scheming and plotting how to destroy everything and everyone that lives contrary to what they believe. Radical Islam has succinctly articulated the fact that their consuming passion is to ensure that the flag of Islam flies over the White House. They are committed to ridding the world of Christianity and have made it clear that no method is out of bounds, including murdering innocent people to ensure that their goal is met.

Yet Pearlman thinks Tebow is dangerous! Is Tebow a terrorist? Has he forced his faith on anyone? Since when did using your platform to promote your world view become a sin? Isn’t that exactly what advertisers do every single day when they bombard the airwaves with claims of their products being the best in the world even when they’re not? Are they dangerous too? Does Pearlman think he’s the smartest person in the world? I mean, how condescending and elitist must you be to suggest that you have greater insight than everyone else into Tebow’s motives for playing football, and they are not altruistic? He clearly gives no credence to the idea that other people have brains and are just as able to use them as he is his. If people don’t believe in what Tebow is “selling” then they don’t have to “buy” it. He’s not using guerilla tactics, or forcefully manipulating people into believing what he believes. He’s not even aggressively proselytizing on street corners, yet Pearlman thinks he’s brainwashing people, and so he wants him to fail. As a parent, I vehemently and vociferously disagree with Pearlman and his ilk.

Here’s what a few of Pearlman’s own readers had to say about his article:

“Wow, you’re such a bigot, and you call yourself liberal. I’m a liberal democrat and you are why we (are) losing power. You(’re) narrow-minded and don’t really care about free speech, you preach but you don’t practice. What if I said I want your kids to fail? You would blast me and call me out like you should.”

“Why would someone who disagrees with Tebow want him to fail? What’s the big deal if his success enables him to help more missionaries convert people in third-world countries? Don’t missionaries help more than they hurt?...And if they think I am going to hell, who cares—if I don’t believe it, why should I care? I am scared of Islamic Jihadists, not Tebow.”

“Frankly, I’m not sure I see the danger in a famous Tebow. He’s far from the first evangelical Christian to make it big in sports (ie: prayer huddles after games) and far from the first athlete to hold opinions which I disagree with. But aren’t people smart enough to make their own decisions? I find it hard to believe that somebody would decide to not get an abortion because a football player—or the parent of a football player, even—told them it was a sin.”

Like Tebow’s parents, I have a son playing D1 college football, and every time I read a comment about my son that is less than complimentary I bristle. Now, don’t get me wrong, I certainly welcome constructive and objective criticism, but when the comments are simply unveiled insults that question a student-athlete’s heritage or upbringing, I certainly draw the line there. Over time however, I’ve come to realize that such comments don’t come from people who see our children as humans with feelings, but from indolent idiots who merely see them as commodities that provide a few hours of entertainment for them on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I’m learning not to let them get under my skin. I applaud Tim’s parents for having to deal with the pain and frustration of hearing and seeing their son vilified, derided, and second-guessed at every turn, but I also realize that there is a worthy reward for both him and them. The Scriptures say it like this:

“So everyone who acknowledges Me before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.” (Jesus speaking in Matthew 10:32)

As it happens, Tebow was selected by the Denver Broncos with the 25th pick of the 2010 NFL draft (the first round no less) contrary to all the speculations and permutations of the so-called experts. Kudos to you Josh McDaniels, for recognizing the value of character as being equal to talent. You did it with Tom Brady in New England, and I’m confident you’ll do it with Tim Tebow in Denver. Oh, by the way, for those of you who’ve forgotten, Tom Brady, a high-character guy, played his college football as a back-up to Brian Griese, a high-talent guy, at Michigan. Hmmm, I wonder what their NFL careers reflected?! I’m just sayin’!! Now it’s your turn to weigh in on this conversation.