The League

Dave Goldberg
Sports Reporter

Dave Goldberg

Covered the NFL for the AP for 25 years and now is a senior NFL writer for Fanhouse.com

Free speech first

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I don't know Tim Tebow, and I'm a little tired of him. Excuse, me. I'm not tired of Tebow the quarterback. I'm tired of the media, especially the adoring media that has covered him at the University of Florida, turning him into the most wonderful and humane athlete who ever trod onto a playing field. (Maybe it's because I have other candidates for that honor -- Dikembe Mutombo comes to mind.)

But my fatigue with all things Tebow does not overshadow my respect for the First Amendment. So if Tebow and the groups supporting his stance want to buy 30 seconds of television time during the Super Bowl to put forth his message, they have the right to do it.

Tony Dungy, a man I know pretty well and admire a lot, has never been shy about sharing his views on race, religion and family, so why shouldn't Tebow -- although he has had a lot less life experience and accomplished a lot less than Dungy and he's never lost a son to suicide, as Tony did a few years ago.

Nonetheless, the idea of a 22-year-old college senior stating his view on the most watched television show of the year bothers me. American politics right now is as divisive as I've ever known it and I've been following it in one form or another since the Eisenhower administration, including as a national reporter for The Associated Press from 1972-80.

Tebow's pro-life ad takes the debate to another level -- into the middle of the nation's premier sporting event on a day when we're supposed to put aside our differences for three-and-a-half hours.

I've been around locker rooms enough to doubt that the 30 second pro-life ad and Tebow's position on the issue will "divide'' the team he lands on, as has been predicted. Yes, the reaction to Rush Limbaugh's feelers about buying the St. Louis Rams changed Limbaugh's mind about seeking a franchise -- it was clear from the reaction of players and ex-players, especially African-Americans, that Limbaugh's noisy advocacy and past statements were far too divisive.

Tim Tebow? Other than his position on abortion, I don't really know his politics, even if I can speculate on what they may be. Hold that -- most peoples' politics are too complicated to be judged by one man's position on one issue. But they don't matter in any case. The First Amendment does.

By Dave Goldberg  |  February 1, 2010; 10:23 AM ET  | Category:  Super Bowl Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Hello Dave,
You are correct that "most people's politics are too complicated to be judged by one man's position on one issue".

For instance just because I voted for John McCain does not mean I am a racist, as my record certainly conveys. It also does not mean I am a registered Republican [I am not] nor that I like the approach and antics of one Glen Beck [again, I do not].

You state it bothers you to have a 22 year old stating his view because as you state it is already a divisive issue and it is a time we are to put aside our differences.

Interesting Dave. The next time when NBC Sunday Night NFL Football feeds us their environmental unconfirmed data regarding global warming, I'll be looking for your columns telling NBC to stick to the NFL and leave their politics for the nightly news.

Finally, Dave, we live in an era where the vast majority of athletes make mega dollars and rarely have the guts to take a stand regarding any issue of ethics. Tim Tebow again will be different. Thus should he not be applauded for his courage to stand up for the unborn babies in our country?

Posted by: RedskinRay1 | February 1, 2010 3:04 PM

Redskinray1 says: The next time when NBC Sunday Night NFL Football feeds us their environmental unconfirmed data regarding global warming, I'll be looking for your columns telling NBC to stick to the NFL and leave their politics for the nightly news.

Well - Ray - as a fellow lifelong Redskin fan, I have to call you on this. I do not ever recall NBC SNNFL doing that. If they did, I would have as much problem with that as I do with Mr. Tebow's ad being broadcast during the Superbowl.

With so many people watching this game for the purpose of entertainment, it is simply uncivil in the extreme to present an ad that features a divisive subject - even if the ad itself is benign. Look at the amount of BS it's generating already.

The ad itself isn't the point. Not everything needs to be a forum for political battle. If they cut to a commercial in a movie and suddenly fed me political opinions of any stripe, I would be pissed off.

It's not about whether you agree with him or not. It's not about Tebow - he certainly has the right to try and make his statement. It's about the NFL's wisdom in allowing its product, which crosses all political lines and borders, to be turned into a partisan tool in this fashion.

Dumb dumb dumb.

Posted by: cerebus-72 | February 1, 2010 8:45 PM

"...that Limbaugh's noisy advocacy and past statements were far too divisive."

This is total BS. Most black players weren't opposed to Limbaugh. If that were true, the media would have made sure any interview or quote with African American players was prominent in every story about Limbaugh trying to buy the Rams.

Limbaugh's own chief of staff "Snerdly" is African American.

Posted by: horace1 | February 2, 2010 4:05 AM

Based on your ideas about 22 year olds expressing their opinions, what do you think the "right age" is? Who are the "right people" (old white guys only need apply)? Guess you would have rather have had Ben Franklin write the Declaration of Independence (yes, Jefferson was 41, but, the point is...)?
We all have a right to our say (especially if we'll fork over $3 million) and to absorb the consequences for doing so. Anyway, the question isn't "Pro-choice" or not. It is "Pro-murder" or not.
If you believe that a mother has the right to kill their unborn child, then so be it. Given the amount of t&a flashed in the commercials along with promotion of alcohol, you and your ilk will have the opportunity to see many, many, many more women excercise their "right to choose". Good for Tebow. Good for CBS (free speech). Good for Focus on The Family for doing just that - focusing on the family!

Posted by: KDSmallJr | February 2, 2010 11:13 AM

Hmmm...lets see..a young man praising something (God) greater them himself as opposed to a certain other 35ish man in sports who is much older getting caught with his pants down. I'd say Tim T is wise beyond his years!

Posted by: beckyprays | February 3, 2010 11:07 AM

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