Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has come under attack from sports analysts for being vocal about the role his Christian faith plays in his National Football League career.
Before his second professional season has even begun, naysayers are questioning his confidence that relies on his Christian beliefs.
CBSSports.com national columnist Gregg Doyel recently analyzed Tebow’s interview with Denver Post and said the way he equated his love for God in heaven with tangible rewards on earth amounted to blasphemy. The interview was prompted by reports that Tebow might not begin the season as Denver’s starting quarterback.
Doyel’s analysis angered Tebow’s fans. “Dude, your article bothers me. You know dang well that you painted Tebow as a religious nut-job,” complained one Daniel Liebman. Doyel Friday responded to what he described as “hate mails” from “Tebow fanatics.”
“I didn’t paint him as a religious nut-job. Tebow’s the one holding the brush. I just hung his art on the wall and asked you folks to take a look,” the columnist said.
“Your article on Christian faith is extremely offensive,” wrote another fan, Chance Jones. “I have forwarded my thoughts to many individuals at CBS Sports and will no longer be a customer.” Doyel listed the responses sent by Tebow’s fans followed by a statement defending his analysis.
While Tebow is not known to have responded to criticism, he posted “Joshua 1:19” on his Facebook page Friday. The verse, which reads, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go,” alluded to the charge.
Debi Albritton, a fan commented, saying, “Your faith and your continued show of faith even against all the naysayers is a testament to all Christians. May God bless you and continue to strengthen you against all the adversity you receive!”
Doyel’s article juxtaposed views that suggest “Tebow will never be a good NFL quarterback,” with his confidence in God for his success. “He doesn’t believe it. Which is fine… But check out the reason why he doesn’t believe it,” the sports columnist continued.
Then Doyel quoted Tebow as saying, “Others who say I won’t make it are wrong. They don’t know what I’m capable of and what’s inside me. My family and my friends have been bothered by what’s gone on, and I tell them to pay no attention to it. I’m relying as always on my faith.”
“He’ll make it in this league – for the Bible tells him so,” Doyel remarked. “From the outside it looks like Tebow equates his love for God in heaven with tangible rewards here on earth. And that’s more than wrong. It’s blasphemy.” However, Doyel claimed he had nothing against Tebow or his God and that he considered him the nicest person he had ever met.
Collin Hansen, editorial director of The Gospel Coalition, in a blog Friday, commented on the controversy involving Doyel and Tebow.
“I’m not sure if Doyel knows what blasphemy is, or the seriousness of the charge he’s leveling against Tebow,” Hansen commented. “Tebow could be saying he relies on his faith to withstand criticism and pressure, not that he finds assurance in his future as a starting quarterback because God loves him.”
However, Doyel agrees Tebow’s life has been “grandiose.”
“He was the best high school player in America. The best college player in America, and one of the most accomplished players – one Heisman, two national titles – in history. A first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010.”
At college in Florida, Tebow frequently wore biblical verses on his eye black. In the 2009 Bowl Championship Series, he wore “John 3:16” on his eye paint, reportedly causing 92 million people to search the verse on Google. Later, Tebow switched to “Proverbs 3:5-6,” again causing 3.43 million searches of the verse together with “Tim Tebow.”