The Tebow Controversy | Teen Ink

The Tebow Controversy

December 22, 2011
By beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
35 articles 0 photos 1398 comments

Favorite Quote:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

A couple of days ago, I was watching the news with my mom, and we happened to catch a story on Tim Tebow, quarterback for the Broncos. I had heard of Tebow---he was known as a “lightning rod” to the Broncos and their winning season. So, intrigued I sat beside my mom on the couch to see what the story was about.

Now Tebow has often been in the media, portrayed as a football player faithful to his religion. In June, his autobiography, “Through My Eyes” debuted number 6 on the New York Times Bestseller list---it discusses his Christian values and the impact God has made in his life. He frequently paints proverbs from the Bible under his eyes, like John 3:16. All in all, Tim Tebow is a devoted Christian. However, there is an issue with Tebow kneeling down on one knee in prayer on game days. The media describes Tebow as a player maybe too involved with his religion. Is this a valid criticism or is everyone looking for another popular figure to ridicule?

A been created as a response to Tim Tebow’s actions. The term, “tebowing” has been coined specifically to address this growing phenomenon. defines tebowing as “...getting down on a knee to start praying even if everyone around you is doing something completely different.” Around the world, people of all ages, and both genders---soldiers, toddlers, other athletes--- have been photographed tebowing. Some have even called it the new planking. Planking is an activity where a person mimics a wooden plank, lying face down and with both arms positioned at the sides ---almost like playing dead.

Anti-Christians, believers of different faiths, and some citizens of the general public, have expressed strong opposition to this action. This side of the debate states that "Jesus has no business on the football field." Many have even found it offensive, believing that tebowing is to be done on one’s own time. Blogs and newspapers have given mixed responses to Tim Tebow. In his article “Is Tebowing an Attack on Christianity?”, Howard Portnoy posted his opinion, expressing his sentiments on tebowing: "Tebow is free to give “mad respect” to his lord, but I’d rather he do it on his own time...Tebow’s prayer timeouts, by contrast, are as gratuitously in-your-face as the most flagrant end zone dance. And they last as long." According to Portnoy, tebowing is an annoying fad, and moments like these should be saved for time in church.

On the other side, people have said that freedom of expression was placed in the Bill of Rights for a reason. At My High School Journalism, students post articles and opinions on current events and issues in the media. One article, “Tim Tebow: He’s Faithful and He Knows It”, states: "Tebow shows his faith in simple, nonintrusive ways...Tim Tebow also expresses his faith no matter if he is mocked or not- he said it is the most important part of who he is, even before football."

But however Tebow appears to be to some Christians, a rising number of Christians feel differently on the subject. Summarized from an opinion article on FOX, many feel that Tebow could express his faith in less public ways like previous athletes have done before him. He would still continue to be faithful to God, but he might help himself if he could pray in private. In response to that remark, Starnes writes: "Perhaps the good professor would suggest Christians enter restaurants through the back door and use separate drinking fountains?"

The argument has been exhausted for a while now. Maybe the reason people are picking on Tebow is because of his success as a quarterback, or something else to that effect. Players like the Lions to be lacking in manners and common decency. That kind of behavior is unbecoming and disrespectful. That could be viewed as an attack on Tebow and his faith. Hopefully, this media frenzy will blow over and a new figure will be in the spotlight.

Admittedly, I am not the expert on football and I do not watch it frequently, but personally, I see nothing wrong with There has been no documentation or evidence that he has violated any of the NFL rules. It is not like he is displaying rude or derogatory gestures---Tebow seems to be an okay kind of guy. But I can also understand why some people are unhappy or feel uncomfortable about this. Praying is usually performed within the privacy of one’s home or in a place of worship. But if he is not breaking any rules or regulations, then he is legally doing nothing wrong. Perhaps more players should follow his example---Tebow is not just all talk, but walks the walk. He is a celebrity with strong and rooted beliefs. With so many celebrities in rehab, drinking, taking drugs, family violence cases---Tebow could be an anchor.

But even without the touchdowns, the winnings, fame and fortune, Tim Tebow is still Tim Tebow. He is a person who wants others to recognize that those things are not the most important in this world. Above all else, Tebow maintains his faith and keeps his values, hoping to inspire and influence others to do the same. Watching Tim Tebow on Hannity, was unforgettable. To me, Tebow did not come across as your average, typical "dumb jock" looking for attention from the media. He is sincere, but does not try to shove religion down people's throats. As stated before, hopefully this situation will die down, and a new celebrity will be in the spotlight.

Works Cited:

The author's comments:
Well, I was curious to see how sports and religion clashed on this particular topic. People have been talking about this since, like October--maybe even earlier--so I wanted to write something too.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Feb. 4 2012 at 5:14 am
beautifulspirit PLATINUM, Alpharetta, Georgia
35 articles 0 photos 1398 comments

Favorite Quote:
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

Thank you! When writing an article for the Nonfiction section, I try to keep an understanding mind---I try to stay neutral, not picking one side completely over the other. To be honest, I try to be a third party to the issue(s). I'm happy that you didn't find the article to be overstuffed with information---that would be a drag to read!

.Skyye. GOLD said...
on Feb. 3 2012 at 2:47 pm
.Skyye. GOLD, Oroville, California
15 articles 19 photos 134 comments

Favorite Quote:
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen.

I walk by Faith, not by sight

This was very good! Very well written, you got all of the information in there without making it too full of info. I really liked this, and I agree with your view-point, I admire Tebow for his values and his faith [I am a Christian] but I do believe people need to move on..