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Dan Levy
Sports Media Guru

Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

Keep belief off the field


Let's get the full disclosure out of the way. I am Jewish. I am also a Democrat (which I'm sure you figured out by the Jewish part) and while I would choose life, I am resolute in my beliefs that it's not my decision to choose for you, or your neighbor. That is your, or his or her, choice. With that information, you know from where I write.

I do not care if Tim Tebow, American citizen, is pro-life or pro-choice, if he's Christian or Jewish or Hindu or Muslim or agnostic. Those are his personal life choices. I don't even care if a pro-life advocacy group wants to hire him and use his notoriety to get some exposure for their group. He's entitled to speak on behalf of any group he wants or, in all probability, any group who pays him.

But, much like church and State, I'm happy to keep my preaching and my football as far apart as possible.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with Tebow being the focus of an ad for Focus on the Family in the Super Bowl. The organization paid their fee to CBS and the NFL and will be featured as one of many spots during the game. They were just savvy enough to parlay that into a national campaign for more than a week leading up to the event. Kudos to them. Now, word that CBS rejected an ad from a gay dating site has left people with some pause, that CBS is letting in a staunchly right point of view but not one a little more, shall-we-say, open-minded. In addition, per a note on Go Daddy's website, one of their ads featuring a flamboyant former football player turned lingerie salesman was rejected, when other ads overtly objectifying women were approved without issue.

There is a double standard there. If you let in the pro-life group, why not let in a seemingly innocuous ad insinuating a former NFL player is gay in his life after football? If you'll allow a video of half-naked women, why not a funny video of two guys - fully clothed - pretending to embrace on a couch? Whatever your political beliefs, you have to agree that's a double standard.

Now, back to Tebow. As stated above, I care not what Tebow's religious or political beliefs may be as an American citizen. Would I root for him if he were the quarterback of my favorite team? I'd honestly have to give it some pause if his religious beliefs were allowed, per the NFL or my favorite team, to permeate the game with the eye black and other religious undertones to his time on the field. Is Tebow any different than the athletes who "thank God" before each interview? Not entirely, although it differs in the fact that Tebow has publicly stated that he was using football to spread the word of his Lord. Part of the reason he stayed at Florida was because he knew his profile was far higher as the quarterback of the defending National Champions than it would be as a backup in the NFL. And while I'm okay with that, too, in his spare time, I'm not okay with Tebow openly admitting to using his college career to preach his religious beliefs while playing, on scholarship, for a state school.

It always surprised me that the University of Florida, a state school, not only allowed Tebow to put religious references on his eye black during games, but seemingly celebrated that fact. I worked at a state school for a long time, and it always made me a little uncomfortable when sitting in a team meal or at a publicly attended banquet when a university official stood to say a prayer.

To have it on the football field is a whole different situation. Pardon the pun, but I never thought what Tebow did at Florida was Kosher.

But now that Tebow is gone from Florida, he's really fine to say or do whatever he wants until he's drafted. After that, he'll fall in line with whatever rules the NFL has for uniforms or promotions that's been collectively bargained by the NFLPA.

John Elway is staunchly Republican, but that doesn't mean I didn't root for him as a kid or that I still don't think he's one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Doesn't mean I'd vote for him, though. And that's the last point on this Super Bowl ad -- who expects to see this video and change their opinion on abortion because of Tim Tebow? He's not selling Sony TVs here. Our thoughts on life are deep-seeded in all of us. One 30-second spot, and all the fallout that's ensued, likely won't change anyone's mind on the issue. And if it does -- if someone does change from pro-choice to pro-life just because of Tebow -- football fan or not, that's just crazy.

By Dan Levy  |  February 1, 2010; 12:43 PM ET  | Category:  Dan Levy , NFL , Super Bowl Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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There are many things in your letter that I think are wrong!!

1. I do think TV ads do change peoples think. Why else would businesses pay the outrageous amounts of money to have one. If you were a young woman thinking honestly about having an abortion and is leaning toward not having one and see this ad and that become the straw the breaks the camels back. Or someone see this ad and is going to have an abortion the next day and understands the decision they are making.

2. Court cases have protected students freedoms in school the cover rights of religion to clothes to porn. Since this football player decided to use his right to share the most important thing he beleives in (Jesus Christ)with other people he has the legal right to do so.

So again was was your problem with him again. Is it that you don't like Christians in position to lead and share (and to make mistakes).

So next time just tell the truth, please!

Posted by: dirtyoleman | February 2, 2010 11:54 AM

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