Tim Tebow has become a polarizing figure. Of course, as far as I can tell, it is difficult to see how. He is young, athletic, humble, hardworking, clean cut, and articulate. He is the kind of player that most coaches dream of having on their teams, and yet it is becoming obvious to many that Tebow is a thorn in the flesh for many sportscasters.
Though I have no intention of predicting Tebow as a great NFL quarterback–I’m just not sure whether he has that ability or not–I do think that for a Heisman trophy winner with an incredible work ethic and so many intangibles under his belt, it would be best to delay judgment until he has actually performed on the field. After all, regardless of his play on the field, the great thing for any NFL team is that his lifestyle off of the field is very unlikely to garner negative media attention along the lines of dog-fighting, domestic abuse, or drug charges.
However, regardless of what Tebow does on the field, it does appear that his life off of the field has tainted sportscaster’s view of the man. Tebow is an outspoken Christian and his religious convictions seem to tarnish his reputation for many in the news media (remember his pro-life Super Bowl commercial) and sports media. Of course, this has been vehemently denied, but an article published recently by Brian Phillips reveals the implications of a secular worldview against an outspoken Christian athlete.
I’m sure there are people who manage to escape the demographic rooting pattern this creates. But in broad strokes, it’s fair to say that how you feel about Tebow depends on how you feel about youth groups and Elisabeth Hasselbeck and, I don’t know, WWJD bracelets and raft retreats with a lot of bonfires and swaying.
There you have it, at least one person in the sports media is ready to own up to the fact that his opinion of Tebow as a football player is affected by his opinion of Tebow as an outspoken Christian.
Worldview determines everything (Arthur Holmes says it is “pre-philosophical”). In academia, Christians are discriminated against because they are believers. Of course the argument usually sounds more like, “the research into intelligent design is not real science,” but coincidentally, that is oddly reminiscent of , “Tebow can never be an NFL quarterback.” There is no evidence to back these claims up (at least not yet on Tebow with whom Denver fans have fallen in love), but the claims are made never-the-less. The reason: A secular worldview is dominated by the prince of the air who opposes all things godly. Therefore, Tebow has to be a bad guy, not because he’s a bad QB, but because he’s a solid believer in Jesus.
Brian Phillips is at least honest in his estimate of Tebow even if he is unfair,
I find myself half-consciously rooting for Tebow to fail, even though I have nothing against him, have lots of religious friends, am not especially tribal by nature, and wouldn’t want to be responsible for the nacho-related deaths of any prominent evangelical leaders, even if I detest their politics. Doesn’t matter. The part of me that wants to eat pork and not stone people just switches on and cheers for the blitzing linebacker.
Phillips reveals the underlying principle behind his rejection of Tebow and the culture’s rejection of the people of God. Ultimately, it’s not a rejection of Tim Tebow, but of Tim Tebow’s God. As we labor to see a Christian worldview prevail and as believers see opposition, rest assured, the opposition of the culture is opposition to our God, but in the end, he will not be mocked.