In recent weeks, it was announced that former NFL quarterback and retired minor league baseball player Tim Tebow will likely be making an NFL comeback, except this time, he'll be playing tight end. The news of the 33-year-old athlete's potential return to professional football has already drawn mixed responses and even prompted Kiss Rockstar Gene Simmons to come to his defense.
On Tuesday, following the announcement that the Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to sign Tebow to a one-year contract, Simmons took to Twitter to defend the oft made fun of athlete.
Simmons wrote, "I support Tim Tebow. He was widely criticized and made fun of, simply because he is a man of faith, who believed in his Christian values. Shame on the NFL and the rest of the world for stooping so low."
I support @TimTebow . He was widely criticized and made fun of, simply because he is a man of faith, who believed in his Christian values. Shame on the NFL and the rest of the world for stooping so low. https://t.co/qU2uqqyIoG— Gene Simmons (@genesimmons) May 11, 2021
Since his early days in the NFL, Tebow, an outspoken Christian, has been ridiculed for his Christian faith by football fans, media and fellow athletes.
In 2011, while Tebow was playing for the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions' linebacker Stephen Tulloch and tight end Tony Scheffler openly mocked Tebow's viral kneeling pose known as "Tebowing" during a game. Tebow would often kneel on the field, offering his thanks to God through prayer. According to ESPN, Both Tulloch asserted that he was attempting to poke fun at Tebow and not his faith, though many on social media did not see it that way.
Several years later, in 2017, while pursuing a minor league baseball career, Tebow was again openly mocked on the field.
According to Newsweek, while playing for the Columbia Fireflys, Tebow’s team traveled to Charleston to face off against the RiverDogs. In an attempt to make fun of Tebow's "celebrity status," the RiverDogs' mascot wore eye black stickers that had John 3:16 written on them, something Tebow was well known for during his time playing college football. The mascot was also later seen Tebowing. Further, as Tebow walked up to bat, the "Hallelujah Chorus" was played over the stadium's PA system.
The RiverDogs faced backlash for these actions, with many viewing it as an attack on Tebow's faith.
General Manager Dave Echols apologized for the actions claiming that the "promotions were poking fun at Mr. Tebow's celebrity status rather than his religion or baseball career." Nonetheless, he recognized that people were offended, and issued an apology. "Our intent was not to offend anyone, and for the fact that we did offend, we are sorry," Echols said in a statement to Charleston's Post and Courier.
Other notable moments of ridicule in Tebow’s career include a moment on The Daily Show when comedian John Oliver asserted that while he dislikes Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe, he hates Tim Tebow.
Oliver said, "If I was in a room with Tim Tebow and [Osama] bin Laden, and I had a gun with one bullet, I'd shoot bin Laden. I'm not a monster. But if I had two bullets, I'd shoot Tim Tebow first."
According to Faithwire, the comedy skit show Saturday Night Live also dedicated an entire skit to poking fun at Tebowing.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Frazer Harrison/Staff
Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.