The SPORTS PHILOSOPHER says: “Leave Tim Tebow alone.” By Brad Eastland

November 6, 2011
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     image0012It’s time for me to step in and finally say something about Tim Tebow.

     But first, in order to both properly set the stage for my column and obtain your collective attention, I need to ask you all a question: Have you seen that Gerard Butler/Jamie Foxx movie called Law Abiding Citizen?

     You’re probably wondering what Mr. Tebow, America’s favorite virgin, and Law Abiding Citizen have in common.   Nothing!   That’s the point!   Combining two such seemingly unrelated topics in the same column is what makes my job fun.   But we’ll come back to the sexless Brendan Fraser look-alike in a moment.

     First, back to Law Abiding Citizen.   Have you seen it?   Have you?

     Production-wise it’s a slick, well written, and supremely well acted movie, with the two leads obviously enjoying going head-to-head with each other on screen.   But content-wise, I have to say that this is one of the most truly gratuitous, vile, gross and utterly pointless movies ever to be made.   Butler shows you more ways to cripple and kill both men and women than you’ve ever dreamed of, including this one guy whose arms, legs, eyelids, tongue, penis, balls, and head he cuts off with various knives, tin snips, scalpels, pliers, bolt cutters, and chain saws, while taping it, so that he can send the tape to his adversary Foxx’s house so that Foxx’s little daughter can watch it.   A charming movie.   Have you seen it?

     This character makes Jack the Ripper look like Richard Simmons.

     My sister Marji’s favorite hunky dreamboat actor is, in fact, Gerard Butler.   So I told her; if you want Butler to remain your favorite hunky dreamboat actor, don’t you dare ever watch Law Abiding Citizen….

     Worse yet, Law Abiding Citizen is always on TV.   Always.   It’s always on TV, every day.   Cable TV, that is.   My son Rob and I joke about it.   It is in fact doubtless the MOST-OFTEN aired movie on cable TV.   Several times a day, every day, without fail.   Don’t take my word for it, do a search on your TV menu and I guarantee you that Law Abiding Citizen will have 4 or 5 upcoming airings within the next three days.   As for Rob and I, our banter about it will usually go something like this: “Hey Dad, guess what movie is on TV three times tonight?”   I reply, “Could it possibly be Law Abiding Citizen?”   And then he rejoins, “Yep.   Should we call Aunt Marji and tell her to tune in?”   Then we laugh.

     Rob, by the way, knows he is not allowed to watch Law Abiding Citizen.   For some reason, this horrific film is not even protected by parental controls on DirecTV.   No matter.   The lad knows that if I catch him tuning it in it’s an automatic loss-of-allowance violation.

     Anyway, while all that blood and gore percolates in your little head, let’s get back to Tim Tebow.

     Anyone who follows NFL football knows that there is no more controversial and polarizing figure in the league than Tebow.   He is without question a love him or hate him kind of guy.   And there is no good reason for it.   By all accounts he’s the nicest guy in the world, moral as milk, controversy free, and a solid citizen….you might even say a law abiding citizen.   He’s a great kid, toiling in a profession populated by rapists, wife & girlfriend beaters, drug gulpers, drunk drivers, deadbeat dads, lewd flashers, and egomaniacal punks.   So why, then, are so many people in and around the NFL, and who watch the NFL, rooting for him to fail?

     Easy.   Religion.

     Tebow is religious.   Over the top religious.   Compared to him, Billy Graham is Charlie Sheen.   He used to write Bible verses on the sun-repellant “eyeblack” under his eyes, until they made him stop.   He kneels and prays after he scores.   And of course, his aforementioned shunning of any pre-marital sex, while openly and publicly trumpeting how proud he is of this moral life-choice, has already become legend.   Naturally he thanks, quote, “my lord and savior Jesus Christ”, unquote, for every victory and reiterates this gratitude similarly at the beginning of pretty much every interview.   Yes, I know it’s annoying.   As a happy agnostic, I believe in the separation of Church and State, and I also believe in the separation of Sports and State.   Unfortunately, in this country, we rarely get either.   I hate it when politicians cram their religious views down my throat, and I hate it just as much when athletes do it.   Lots of people hate it.   That’s why Tebow is such a polarizing figure.   That, and jealousy of his wealth and success.   That is why they use his religion to pillory him. 

     And that’s why I’m the best guy I can think of who should defend him.

     People are piling on Tim Tebow because of his religion.   Period.   NFL commentators—almost to a man—think Tebow will fail as an NFL quarterback, or at least they say they think he will fail, and they always cite his poor throwing mechanics, his slow, elongated release, and his questionable footwork.   I say bull.   All those things may be true, but I am convinced that the overwhelming anti-Tebow sentiment and the media’s negative reportage of Tebow comes not from his poor throwing mechanics, but rather from an undercurrent of annoyance at his always-there, in-your-face religious lifestyle.   It’s annoying.   So they pile on.   Even enemy pass-rushers have taken to mockingly imitating his kneeling, head-bowed style of praying after a touchdown, when they sack him or tackle him.  

     And it’s just plain wrong.

     I believe in freedom of religion, and I also believe in freedom from religion.   Regarding the latter, for me that simply means just keep it to yourself and don’t proselytize me.   And regarding the former, that means don’t give a guy more grief than you otherwise would have given him just because he’s an annoying religious nut.   Religious persecution is wrong in all its forms.   No matter which direction it comes from.

     The interesting thing is, he’s not that bad a pro quarterback.   He’s doing fine.   Especially considering he plays for the Denver Broncos, one of the worst teams in the league.   In his first three games since being named the Denver Broncos starting QB, Tim is 2-and-1.   And he’s the main reason they won both of those games.   He was brilliant and error-free last Sunday against Oakland, overcoming a ten-point 3rd-quarter deficit to win.   And against the Miami Dolphins a couple weeks ago he led Denver back from the brink of certain defeat, rallying his team from 15 points down with less than three minutes to play to tie the score and then win it in overtime.   You know how many quarterbacks in the last 40 years of NFL play have brought their team back from at least 15 points down to win with less than three minutes to go?   One.   Him.

     Greatness takes time.   You have to give a guy a chance.   Terry Bradshaw, in his first full season with the Steelers, threw 24 interceptions.   In Troy Aikman’s first full season, his Cowboys went 1-and-15.   Both those guys are now in the Hall of Fame.   You never know.

     Anyway, I figure if a non-religious cynic or two (like me) stands up for Tebow in print, maybe it might lighten his load a little.

     I’m rooting for Tim Tebow.   I’m hoping he too makes it to the Hall of Fame someday….or at least puts together a successful career as an NFL quarterback, just so he can get the last laugh.   And to all my fellow members of the Fourth Estate who are so ready and eager to bury him before he’s even dead, I have a message:

     Leave him alone.

     I have an idea.   All you Tebow haters out there?   Rather than mis-directing your venom at the poor kid, why not channel your energies into something useful?   Like getting the cable companies to stop running Law Abiding Citizen five times a day….

meet….The Sports Philosopher!

Brad Eastland is an author, historian, film buff, undiscovered literary giant, and a big fan of Tim Tebow and well-meaning religious zealots everywhere.   Brad’s other recent columns for La Verne Online can be found in the Sports section under ‘The Sports Philosopher’ and also in Viewpoint under ‘Brad Eastland’s View’.    Brad has also written 4 novels* and over 20 short-stories.   

*To pick up a copy of his recently published novel of life at the racetrack, of triumph, and of despair, WHERE GODS GAMBLE, a tale of American mythology, simply search for it on,, or   He thanks you.   








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