Seeing Tim Tebow wear eye black that spells Bible verses under his eyes has caused a minor controversy in college sports, although the NCAA obviously is behind this move. I've wondered if they would allow a college football star to write a few words supporting the Muslim faith in the same fashion? How would that play out in America?
Anyway, I don't like it myself and I know some Christian sports fans who don't like it either, but now Tebow and his family are teaming up with Focus on the Family to air a very controversial ad on Super Bowl Sunday.
With one move, Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow has stepped into America's most contentious legal debate.
The Florida Gators football star plans to appear in a Super Bowl commercial funded by a Christian values group that critics say will send an anti-abortion message. The ad, paid for by Focus on the Family, is expected to recount the story of his mother, Pam Tebow's, pregnancy in 1987 with a theme of "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life."
After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim, who went on to win the 2007 Heisman Trophy while helping the Florida Gators reach two BCS championshipship. Abortion rights groups are up in arms.
"An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year, an event designed to bring Americans together," said Jehmu Greene, president of Women's Media Center, which is protesting the ad with the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups.
The network said it has approved the script for the 30-second ad and has given no indication that the protest would have an impact. A network spokesman, Dana McClintock, said CBS would ensure that any issue-oriented ad was "appropriate for air."
That's why a woman has the right to choose in this country. She gets to make up her own mind one way or the other.
The sports elites are going to try and influence American politics as we move forward, it would appear, and that's a bad thing. Tebow was an incredible college QB, but now he's made himself a vocal spokesman for his religious beliefs and is a pawn for James Dobson. You can expect the NFL to cater to him in all ways because they will see him as a cash cow if he becomes a successful player in the NFL. He'll definitely have a big career for the religious right no matter what, if he so chooses.
Is CBS hurting that badly for ad revenue on the biggest payday they have all year to risk this type of blowback? I love sports because it takes me away from the political world, but that gap is closing fast now, and the Tebows will help divide this country even more as time moves forward. If watching the Super Bowl means I have to wind up supporting an attack on women's rights, the set is going off.
Thirty-second commercials during the Super Bowl are selling for $2.5 million to $2.8 million. Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, said funds for the Tebow ad were donated by a few "very generous friends" and did not come from the group's general fund.
The protest letter from the Women's Media Center suggested that CBS should have turned down the ad in part because it was conceived by Focus on the Family.
"By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers," the letter said.
All the national networks, including CBS, have policies that rule out the broadcast of certain types of contentious advocacy ads. In 2004, CBS cited such a policy in rejecting an ad by the liberal-leaning United Church of Christ highlighting the UCC's welcoming stance toward gays and others who might feel shunned by more conservative churches.
CBS was criticized for rejecting that ad - and perhaps might have worried about comparable criticism from conservatives if it had rejected an ad featuring such a charismatic and well-known figure as Tebow. CBS noted that it had run some advocacy ads in recent months, including spots taking conflicting sides in the debate of a national health care overhaul.
I cover the Sports Village because I do like sports, but also because it has a big influence in our country as we are witnessing right now.