Tim Tebow is either:
1. The worst player in NFL history to garner so much media attention.
2. The best player in NFL history to be unfairly deprived of an opportunity to play.
It depends on who you listen to, of course. I haven’t cared about this controversy until this weekend when Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports floated the idea that Tebow was being blackballed. (Deprived of a fair chance to make it as an NFL quarterback.) Silver contends that teams just don’t want to put up with the media circus that comes with Tebow.
You may disagree, but I think that’s absurd. In the high stakes world of the NFL where winning is everything and media circuses are as commonplace as grass stains on uniforms, I can’t imagine a team intentionally shunning a player it truly believes could help produce victories. Sorry, I just don’t buy it.
The reason I’m tackling this subject in this blog is because Mr. Silver’s assertion that Tebow is being blackballed brought my Christian brothers and sisters out of the woodwork over the weekend. On Twitter, Facebook and various message boards, they have picked up on Silver’s hypothesis and taken it to the next level, saying that the real reason Tebow is being blackballed is because he is a Christian.
There are two reasons why this makes no sense.
First, many NFL teams have lots of devout Christians on them. I know because I’ve spoken in the chapel services of the Buccaneers and the Patriots. I’ve seen dozens of players in those services with their Bibles open and scribbling notes and offering prayer requests. (I’ll never forget that Derrick Brooks’ Bible was practically falling apart from use.) And haven’t you seen the hand-holding prayer circles that follow every game? The players kneel in the center of the field and join hands and pray. And I’m talking about Christians from both teams kneeling together as a show of solidarity in their faith.
Second, Kurt Warner was as vocal about his faith as anyone I’ve seen in professional sports, but it didn’t cost him an opportunity to play quarterback in the NFL.
My Christian brothers and sisters, please, stop attributing Tim Tebow’s sputtering NFL career to Christian persecution. When you make such a claim, you minimize the real persecution that believers are suffering both in America and abroad.
Tim Tebow’s faith and accomplishments have brought him legions of fans, many blessings and a constant stream of lucrative offers and opportunities. At the same time, World Net Daily reports that a Christian is martyred somewhere in the world every 3 minutes. That’s about 176,000 Christians killed because of their faith every year.*
I realize there are lesser forms of persecution than murder and those shouldn’t be discounted, but do we really want to hold Tim Tebow up to the world as the example of what persecution looks like? I suspect a lot of cynical unbelievers would offer to become Christians immediately if they knew they would be treated like Tim Tebow.
*If you’d like to read more about the persecution of Christians, go to persecution.org or christianpersecutioninamerica.com.