Being a Christian and a New York Jets football fan, I want to give a backup quarterback with the throwing motion of a drunk Olympic shot-putter the benefit of the doubt. But the latest news that one of Tim Tebow’s spring speaking events, of which he’ll be paid around $75,000, is at a Texas mega-church pastored by on the most vocal anti-gay bigots in the country has me standing on the street while Tim’s bandwagon stumbles along.
It’s been a rough twelve months for the proud pious Prince of punt, pass and kick. Tebow led his Denver Broncos into the playoffs, won a game there, then found himself traded to the Jets when Peyton Manning was signed by Denver. The Jets were more interested in Tebow the show than Tebow the ridiculous throw, and Tebow saw more time on the bench and the trainer’s room than the field. It was rumored a team from his backyard, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who really suck, wanted him. But that turned out to be false. Facing a playing career crossroads, Tebow off the field is catching hell, too.
On April 28th, in Texas, at First Baptist Church of Dallas, Tim Tebow will “share his story” of being a miracle birth to a sick missionary mother in the Phillipines, growing up to be the most celebrated high school and college quarterback, like ever, to now being considered unfit to be a professional player. The problem? The joint he’ll be speaking is a ten thousand member religious stadium that calls itself a church, “celebrating” a $130 million dollar expansion of its “campus” while their congregation is led by a controversial dude.
If celebrating a building while praising the Lord isn’t troublesome enough, First Baptist is spearheaded by Robert Jeffress, the Peyton Manning of bigots. Jeffress is an all-pro at disparaging gays, Mormons, liberals, divorced people, President Barack Obama and “wimpy” Christians. In late 2011 he jumped on that Rick Perry Express by saying Mitt Romney’s Mormon religion was a “theological cult” and thus the country needed Perry’s conservative Christian guidance. Perry was out of the race after getting his hate hat handed to him two months later. The prickly pastor has also said that President Obama is “clearing the path for the anti-Christ”. Jeffress has delivered six anti-gay sermons in the past two years. Doth the perverted preacher proteth too much? Maybe that’s why he’s inviting Tebow to his place and giving him so much money. He’s obviously seen Tebow practice shirtless with a livestrong bracelet.
Tebow’s responded to the criticism of his speaking engagement by saying that he speaks to a lot of churches that give all kinds of sermons and he’s “just giving his testimony”. I personally don’t believe the axiom that you are who you hang with. I mean ya’ll have seen the Sprocket Ink staff, right? But Tebow’s in desperate need of some good press, good news, and of course good will among his NFL brethren after a disastrous season. The NFL draft is weak on quarterbacks this year. There are six teams that need help at the position. If I were his agent and publicist, I’d quit. But if I couldn’t quit, I’d tell him to go throw some balls, with his shirt on, through tire swings, lose some weight, and skip the speaking engagement in April, which is but a week after the draft.
Tim Tebow’s personal story is a tale to hear and, as well, read. I’m sure his speech to the First Baptist faithful will be impressive. But Robert Jeffress seems as horrible of human being as Tim Tebow seems great. Then again, wanting to take 75 large from a megachurch that’s adding on a multi-million dollar structure sounds like Tim Tebow’s being used for something more than his questionable football skill. Tim Tebow needs to look up the word pawn, before he becomes its definition.