What if Tim Tebow were a Muslin or Buddhist or Jew? Would he be getting the support and love he is receiving now from the sports world?
As a devout Christian, Tebow has raised many eyebrows inside and outside the sports world.
People are rooting for him because they like his style of play and because he stands for Conservative principles. (Also, he’s bringing new fans to the sport, though probably not too many, only because so many people are already football fans.)
He has a classic Disneyish story. Detractors, pundits, broadcasters, and all of the above have given their opinion that he won’t make it in the NFL. His college success, two national championships and Heisman trophy award, wouldn’t amount to much in professional football, they’ve said.
First, he was told he was out of position, not fit to be a quarterback. Than he was told his throwing motion was awkward and he ran too much of the time. But now, after a playoff win against the mighty Steelers, he is looking forward to the next Goliath, the New England Patriots.
Most of the Tebow story is about faith, hard work, dedication, and perseverance. So many people can relate to his cause, because these characteristics are necessary in everyday life.
Tebow wouldn’t be Tebow, though, without Christianity. This he admits freely. And, this is where there has been a dividing point for some.
It was hard for the non-religious and atheist types to get on the Tebow bandwagon because religion throws up so many red flags to them. For other religions, like Islam or Judaism, there’s not any other starting quarterback for them to relate to in the NFL, so, these people are left feeling out of the loop.
The controversy of Tebow was his religion, but it may not be any more. It seems his identity has moved past religion and is now accepted by the mainstream media and population as a good-feel story.
His career may parallel this 2011-12 season.
It is highly doubtful that Tebow’s behavior is going to change. He is not going to be in the papers having been stopped for drunk-driving or cursing out a member of the press for their pushiness.
His story is being written now and the only thing that will change it will be his overcoming all the hurdles to win the Super Bowl or not.
Tim Tebow will do many great things in his life, besides playing football. He already is a leader in charitable causes.
He overcame doubters and those willing to knock him for his religious ways.
It’s hard to say how things would have been different if this quarterback from Florida with two championships and a Heisman was a Muslim, Jew, or Buddhist.
There have been famous Muslim and Jewish athletes over time in all the major sports in the U.S., and Tiger Woods is a Buddhist.
Wearing one’s religious beliefs on one’s shirtsleeves is not common in sports, and anybody in Tebow’s position with a different religion could be viewed in a different manner.
He is coming from the plurality and that has helped to propel him. Christianity is the most popular religion in the U.S.
Now, it would seem, he has won over many more fans than just Christian ones.
He is on the best ride ever. Of course, Tebow would tell you that the very best ride is the one to heaven.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com