I don’t write about football much for a good reason.
I haven’t paid much attention to the sport since Joe Namath hung up his No. 12 New York Jets jersey. That’s not only a statement on my age. It’s also a commentary on my lack of interest in the culture of a game that to me increasingly began to resemble the Roman Colosseum.
No offense to NFL fans. That’s just me.
But I am intrigued by a new obsession among sportswriters and football commentators that I call “Tebow-hating.”
Because Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is a faithful Christian, some of his rivals mock him with faux prayer after a sack. So far, the NFL has been silent about such derision.
Some of the play-by-play characters suggest the Heisman Trophy winner is just not up to playing at a high level in the NFL.
Former quarterback Jake Plummer came right out and said what seemed to be on the minds of so many within the NFL culture – telling a Phoenix radio show he wished Tebow would just “shut up” about his faith.
It began simply: “What if Tim Tebow were a Muslim?”
Pretty good question.
“Imagine for a second, the Denver Broncos quarterback is a devout follower of Islam, sincere and principled in his beliefs and thus bowed toward Mecca to celebrate touchdowns,” she wrote. “Now imagine if Detroit Lions players Stephen Tulloch and Tony Scheffler mockingly bowed toward Mecca, too, after tackling him for a loss or scoring a touchdown, just like what happened Sunday.”
“I know what would happen,” she continued. “All hell would break loose.”
You’re darn right all hell would break loose.
I don’t think the media would joke about it. I don’t think the NFL would tolerate it. I don’t think one football commentator would applaud it. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single NFL player who would ever consider such an action. The Muslim Brotherhood lobbying group known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations would be apoplectic – and, for once, rightfully so! There would be no end to the vilification of all involved.
“And there would be apologies,” continued Engel. “Oh, Lord, would there be apologies – by players, by coaches, possibly by ownership with a tiny chance of a statement from NFL commish Roger Goodell.”
Because, as the astute columnist points out, “You cannot mock Muslim faith, not in the this country, not anywhere really.”
So, in a country in which the vast majority claim to be Christians, how do the Tebow-haters get away with what they do – week after week, month after month?
Christians aren’t known for issuing fatwas against the lives of those who mock them.
There is no equivalent of CAIR for Christians in America – a Hamas-tied, foreign-sponsored, terror-linked lobby group that is on television virtually every day claiming anti-Muslim bigotry where none exists.
The media are afraid of Islam, not Christians.
And the NFL is, as I suggested earlier, really about re-creating, short of death and dismemberment, the reality of the Roman Colosseum.
Meanwhile, Tim Tebow just goes about his business being the best quarterback and Christian man he can be.
On Sunday, he led his Broncos to a 35-32 win over Minnesota. It was the team’s sixth win in his seven starts. It was their fifth straight win when trailing entering the fourth quarter, and their fifth on the road. The Broncos started the season 1-4, but they are 6-1 with Tebow as their starter.
By the way, they’re also in first place in the AFC West with four games to play.
As Engel concluded: “Tebow is just a guy with the good sense to say thanks. Instead of taking his cue, we mock his faith. And that says more about us, none of it good.”