And Rabbi Joshua Hammerman thought he had a “Tebow Problem” before. Back in 2011, the columnist at The Jewish Week fretted that the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos might beat his “beloved” New England Patriots in the upcoming AFC championship game. But his wasn’t a fan’s normal pre-game nervousness. It was the hand-wringing of a liberal bigot.
Hammerman imagined that the rubes in fly-over country regarded the “blue-clad Patriots, from the bluest of blue states” as the “Sons of Darkness, with their perfectly coiffed Hollywood quarter back” their “diabolical hoodie-clad coach” and “the most identifiably Jewish owner in sports.” Against Tebow, the “poster boy of the Christian right,” they’d be “playing the role of Pilate.” (In the event, the Broncos lost, forestalling Tebow’s Christian fans from “burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants” in celebration, as Hammerman had warned.)
During the first centuries of Christianity, Christians were thrown to lions in arenas to be jeered by mocking crowds. Today, Christian athletes face the taunts of a media strongly opposed to their faith.
No Christian athlete draws more media catcalls than New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow. CBSChicago.com writer Dan Bernstein dismissed Tebow as “little more than an affable simpleton” and slammed his fans as “lunatic-fringe cultists.” Columnist Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of The Jewish Week expressed his desire that Tebow’s Broncos would lose a playoff game because a Broncos victory would “buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” Radio host Craig Carton was the latest to jump on the anti-Tebow bandwagon, calling him a “fraud” and complaining that he “clearly thinks he is Jesus” on his August 14 radio show.
Wherever devout Christian quarterback Tim Tebow goes, he is dogged by the hatred of those who cannot stand him or his faith. Tebow was traded from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets amid much media fanfare, and some sportswriters naturally used the occasion to engage in personal attacks on Tebow, his religion, and his fans.
MSNBC invited Nation sports editor Dave Zirin to give his opinion on Tebow’s move to New York. Zirin bizarrely argued that “there are a lot of LGBT people that live in New York City who are also football fans”and that “the new, possibly, starting quarterback for the New York Jets wants them to move backwards 30 or 40 years.”(The Denver Broncos refused to participate in anti-heterosexual Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better Project” when Tebow was still on the Broncos, drawing the ire of the gay community and the left-wing media.)