From Tebow to Lolo, sports stars are penalized for not playing the secular game.
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.
There are a variety of “NFL Police Blotters” on the Internet, and the league has seen 35 of its players arrested since Jan. 1, on charges ranging from DUI to drug possession to assault. The football media reserve their outrage for Tebow.
Other Christian athletes have experienced similar media disapproval. Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams slammed Olympic gold medalist gymnast Gabby Douglas for being “so, so, so into Jesus.” New York Times writer Jere Longman slammed Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones as a fraud (and a Tebow fan) even before she competed: “Jones has decided she will be whatever anyone wants her to be – vixen, virgin, victim” and mocked her faith: “She has proclaimed herself to be a 30-year-old virgin and a Christian. And oh, by the way, a big fan of Tim Tebow.”
Other Christian athletes have faced intense media criticism for their opposition to gay marriage. Soros-funded outlet Think Progress falsely accused Catholic boxer Manny Pacquiao of advocating the death of homosexuals. ESPN went on a crusade against Nebraska college football coach Ron Brown for his faith-based opposition to a “gay and transgender anti-discrimination law.” One ESPN.com writer even called for Brown’s firing: “if he continues to confuse faith with a person's fundamental right not to be discriminated against.”
Publicly expressed Christianity is not for the faint of heart in the sports world.
Tebow Derangement Syndrome
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