HOOVER, Ala.—He's Superman. He's a media darling. He's an active Christian, he's been on three mission trips during Florida's three most recent weeks off from workouts, and it seems like everyone is always talking about him.
He's a Heisman winner on one of the best teams in the country.
And he's a Gator—so that all adds up to hatred for Bulldog Nation right?
Well, yes. But it shouldn't.
Granted, he is in the media ad nauseum, and they drive it down our throats. But it's genuine.
The Golden Boy entered the presser Monday with warm greetings and hugs for the media members he knew. He proceeded to answer questions candidly, warmly, and honestly. Seeing him in person, you can feel the sincerity and see why the media love him.
It's bizarre. Before today I was a hater. Now, I love him. (OK, love is a little strong.) He's still a Gator, but I honestly can say that I respect and even (gulp) admire him. Being in the same room with him is an eye-opening experience.
A sampling of his press conference today:
- "I had three mission trips. First I went to the Phillipines, then I went to Croatia, then I went to Thailand, and they were all great trips. I got to do a lot of great things...I was getting the opportunity to preach in prisons, hospitals, marketplaces, schools, orphanages, you name it. For me doing that type of stuff is way more important than playing football or winning championships or winning Heismans."
- "What I do gives you a platform, it gives you the opportunity. My goal has always been to be one of those good role models that a parent can say to their kid, 'Look at him, do it the right way like him.' That's what my parents said to me about Danny Wuerffel when I was six years old. My dream even more so than football is to be a role model for kids who look up to football players."
I know that's nothing anyone hasn't heard before, and I'll admit his forays into circumcision in the Phillipines are a little creepy.
I also cringe at being a part of "that group," but he sold me. Plain and simple.
This is directed to Georgia fans because of the rivalry, the fact that both teams are among the best in the country, and because I live in Athens and hear the griping all the time.
Don't worry. It's still OK to hate on Tebow because, well, he's a Gator.
But do it just because he's a Gator, and do it based on stuff on the field. Don't doubt his sincerity or his genuine caring for his fellow Earthlings.
Just cut the guy a break.