It is nearly impossible for us to go a day without hearing about an athletes arrest and subsequent mugshot, football players included. Society still finds a way to place these flawed individuals up on a pedestal.
Children grow up to be the next Terrell Owens or Dez Bryant because they are considered successful. The talented athlete with many other short-comings are placed atop of the socioeconomic ladder, while educators and first responders struggle to inch out a living.
I guess this is the way it is always going to be and it will never change. The issue I have is that they are considered to be among the most successful in our society.
What is success? How do we as a people define it? These are two questions that we presuppose to already have answers. Get a college education, earn a good living and become a good person.
Still, these athletes are looked up to in our society. It is the glitz and glamor of the lifestyle, the riches of the cars and material goods. It isn't about how you grow to represent what is good about a human being or the moral standards upon which you live.
This can be blamed on the media glamorizing athletes, the parents that don't know any better and other societal factors such as the entertainment and sport industries. In general, outside the landscape of the sports arena this might even be more magnified. A female that is considered a little overweight won't be seen on the latest version of The Bachelor, nor will a man that has that "gruff" look be found on the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars.
We exist at a time where the entire fabric of our nation, indeed the sports world, is being ripped apart at its core. We look up to teenage mothers with a high school education, reality shows that perpetuate certain stigmas and athletes that represent how fame has replaced substance.
What about Tim Tebow?
No, Tebow will never be pretty on the football field. Much like the stigma against African American quarterbacks during the most racially volatile era of the National Football League immediately after the color barrier was broken in 1946. While the dogmatic approach against African-American quarterbacks lasted the better part of a half-century, this new wave against Tebow's skill-set is much more surprising to the untrained eye.
While it remains to be seen whether Tebow can succeed at this level, we really haven't given him a chance. Certain quarterbacks who represent that "it" factor you look for at this position have not been successful, but continue to be given chance after chance to prove their worth. Just look at Mark Sanchez and Alex Smith for a second.
Why not Tebow?
Do me a favor and follow this Google link. How long does it take for you to find one column supporting him as a man and what he does in the community?
When does it become evident that our own bias against a certain person can be seen as ignorant? In the case of Tim Tebow it is right now.
Of course this news isn't anywhere as "sexy" as a current prospect being arrested such as the Bruce Irvin story that hit the headlines on ever major sports sight, including Bleacher Report.
We don't hear about the Wish Program that helps children with life threatening diseases fulfill a life dream. Rather, we get to watch never-ending news cycles of Peyton Manning's newest whereabouts.
These stories of what Tebow does in communities spanning the globe are not only prevalent, but widespread in nature. His one response to why he does it?
"I believe God gave me this athletic ability for a reason. A lot of pastors and ministers can't go to the places I've been to share my faith because they don't have the same platform. I see playing football at Florida as a ministry and opportunity to share my faith even more. It's a chance to be a missionary without the title."
Tebow is using football as a platform to spread hope and respect to millions of people. He isn't using it to score more females in a strip club, become more marketable to the masses or to gain a fortune. What is wrong with him being so religious? What is wrong with him bringing a team together under the guise of God and Christianity?
Even in altruism, Tebow gets railroaded by the mainstream media, fans and even fellow players. Jermichael Finley said the following about the polarizing quarterback during the 2011 season.
“I sit at home, start watching TV and all I’m seeing is Tebow. That’s kind of disturbing. We have a guy here that’s breaking records every week and you have a guy in Tebow that’s saying ‘God’ every word and he gets coverage. Of course I love my faith and God, but come on man.”
This is more disturbing than a player that has never talked about God coming to the conclusion that the almighty helped him win a championship? This is more disturbing than Perrish Cox thanking God for him being acquitted of rape?
Seriously, it seems that the makers of own own common sense have somehow gone on extended stay vacations in Hawaii.
Tiger Woods once said the following about being a role-model.
I think it's an honor to be a role model to one person or maybe more than that. If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person's life in a positive light, and that's what I want to do. That's what it's all about.
Is Woods the type of person that you want your child to model him or herself after? Is this the type of person that you dreamed you would grow up to be?
See, it is all about perception. Kobe Bryant can make shots that most of us could scarcely imagine, Ben Roethlisberger has won multiple Super Bowl's and Tiger Woods might go down as one of the greatest golfers of all-time. They are still in no way the types of individuals that I want to model myself or my children after. They don't represent what is great about community before self, or morality over instant gratification.
Tim Tebow is that type of individual. Everything that this man does is for the betterment of society and community. He preaches God's word because it gives him the ability to help people improve their lives. He plays football, not because of some meaningless financial dream, but because he loves the game and what it does for him as a human and society as a whole. See, it is more than just a game. This sport gives the quarterback a platform to help countless people with his selfless attitude.
We as a people are at fault here. The media perpetuates the belief that athletes are successful, while those individuals held up on a pedestal continue to make childish mistakes. They don't grow as men because we are all enablers in the understanding that they don't have to.
Next time you read an article about a DUI arrest or rape charge, take a look at what Tim Tebow did that day. Take a look at how he might have helped just one person because of the mentality he has that supports community over self.
Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself this following question. Does it make me feel better to poke fun at a guy that is consistently trying to help?
Then look your child in the face and ask yourself how you want him or her to be as an adult?