What is the Anti-Tebow Bias Really About?

According to Larry Taunton, it has nothing to do with his skill (or lack thereof) as an NFL quarterback.

Anti-Tebow bias isn’t about footballJake Plummer, the latest to take pot shots at the embattled Denver quarterback, might have been speaking for anti-Tebowites everywhere when he said in an interview on a Phoenix radio station that he would like Tebow more if he would “shut up” about his faith in Jesus Christ.

And with that little comment, the cat, as they say, was out of the bag.

Plummer said what the commentators wouldn’t say. Their dislike for Tim Tebow is not, as they would have us believe, about his throwing motion or his completion percentage; it’s all about his open professions of faith and his goody-two shoes image. When it comes right down to it, we don’t want heroes who are truly good. We want them to fail the occasional drug test or start a bar fight from time to time. It makes us feel better about ourselves. Tebow, however, doesn’t make us feel better about ourselves. People like him make us feel a little convicted about the things we say and do. So we find a reason to dislike them. Or, when Tebow says that glory goes to God and the credit for a victory goes to his teammates, coaches, and family, we are suspicious. An increasingly jaded culture, we don’t believe that anyone can say such things and really mean them.

First, I recognize that this is an opinion piece and thus should perhaps not be held to the same standard as other pieces of journalism, but Taunton falls into a number of traps in this piece. He paints with a very broad stroke saying that everyone who critiques Tebow, even when they only level critiques related to his skill as a football player, is really just mad that he’s a good person, a Christian, and that he talks about his faith all the time. Besides the fact that his only “evidence” are the comments by Jake Plummer and that he extrapolates that one comment to everyone who has critiqued Tebow, he also laments over why Tebow has garnered so much attention and other poor-performing quarterbacks, such as Curtis Painter and Tyler Palko, have not. For one, those guys do not have as ardent supporters as Tebow does and their supporters are not heralding them as martyrs.

By Taunton’s logic, one can say that all of his supporters are only such because he’s a Christian and that their support, even when they talk about his skill as a quarterback, is really about him being a Christian. Taunton’s elementary attempt to psychologize on the anti-Tebow rhetoric does nothing to persuade anyone who isn’t already a Tebow supporter because it offers no evidence and only serves to further the divide by setting Tebow up to be some great Christian martyr.

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