Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

For me, the most important athlete of all time is Michael Jordan. He was the first superstar to brand himself, to go corporate. He inadvertently set the bar for every athlete after him. Since Jordan, the template to become a sports celebrity is to be as clean as possible and never take a stand on anything. Because of this, we pine for more athletes to have opinions on social issues. That is, of course, until an athlete actually has an opinion.

Now, I'm no fan of Tim Tebow. The background to my Twitter page is a picture of him crying after the Alabama loss. But the criticism he's receiving over his anti-abortion ad that's set to premier during the Super Bowl is a clear case of hypocrisy.

I also need to add that I'm not a fan of his message either. Truthfully, I don't care enough about abortion to have an opinion, but if I were to choose sides, I would be pro-choice. So everything about this ad should anger me. But it doesn't. I say let Tebow and whatever Christian group that funds him (Focus on the Family, in this case) do what they want. It's a free country.

But the fact that people are coming down on Tebow just goes to show that when people finally get what they want, they find that it wasn't exactly what they were looking for. Here we have a superstar that has the balls to express his opinions, and now everyone wants him to shut up. It's not like this is news; Tebow has always been an outspoken Christian. What did you think his stance on abortion was?

However, this is a very bad career move for Tebow. It's hard to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL when half of your fanbase disagrees with you on such a polarizing issue. It would be different if he played a non-team sport like golf or tennis, but the most important position in football? You need your guys on your side, and like it or not, some players will not want to play for a guy like him. It actually makes this stand even more impressive that he's willing to sacrifice that. Or, he was just incredibly short-sighted and doesn't understand what these kinds of outspoken opinions mean in the long run.

I cannot stand Tim Tebow the player or Tim Tebow the man, but I'm not going to vilify him because he's taking his message to the streets. The kid is brave. He's going to need that bravery when his non-pro skills get him pummeled in the NFL by an angry pro-choice linebacker.


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