A Connecticut Rabbi said Tim Tebow’s Christian fans would lead anti-Muslim attacks if the outwardly pious athlete were to win the Super Bowl.
According to TheBlaze.com, the controversial article, which has since been removed from Jewishweek.com, begins with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman announcing that he has a “Tim Tebow Problem.”
In his explanation, Hammerman calls the 24-year-old football player “a poster boy of the Christian right,” and adds, “tiny Tim has grown and is on track to possibly appear in this season’s Super Bowl– on the field– and that is what scares me.”
The piece takes an odious tone when Hammerman goes on to say the all-American sport is more popular than God in the U.S. and that “when you combine the religion that is football with the religion that is religion, the mix can be dangerously flammable.”
The entire assertion by Rabbi Hammerman reads, “If Tebow wins the Super Bowl, against all odds, it will buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.”
He also adds that, “While America has become more inclusive since Jerry Falwell’s first political forays, a Tebow triumph could set those efforts back considerably.”
Many fans and news hosts, including Greg Gutfeld, the co-host of Fox News’ “The Five,” couldn’t understand the comparison between a football championship and immediate anti-Islam sentiment by Christians. Gutfeld said on a segment of the show that he reached out to Rabbi Hammerman after he read the article and got no response, but the comments were soon removed from the site.
During the segment, Bob Beckel, the host of the show, said, “Rabbi you’re still a bigot and here’s the way bigots work… they do things like this and they pull ‘em back.” Beckel goes on to ask, “What is it about Christians? Nobody else gets attacked and we always get attacked- you come up with this stuff- we’re gonna go raid mosques and we’re gonna burn down buildings!- now where do you get away with saying that you punk?!”
When asked in a phone interview with The Christian Post about what motivated the remarks, Rabbi Hammerman responded only by saying the article was “very poorly and clumsily done.” He added that his rhetoric is often “tongue-in- cheek” as well.
He apologized for any remarks that were in any way “deemed offensive.”
In a statement on his blog, Joshuahammerman.blogspot.com, he wrote, “This week I wrote an article for the Jewish Week in which I attempted to explore the phenomenon of Denver quarterback Tim Tebow to make broad points about society and extremism. I now realize that some of my statements had the reverse effect of what I had intended and for this I deeply and sincerely apologize.”
He added that because he speaks out so passionately against bigotry, he was perceived a bigot himself.
“As many of you know, I have spent my entire career engaged in dialogue with people of all faiths while speaking out passionately against all forms of bigotry. I have the deepest respect for those who are committed to their faith, including Mr. Tebow,” he said in the statement.
“I realize the way in which I attempted to make my points was clumsy and inappropriate, inadvertently suggesting the kind of intolerance and extremism my article was intended to disparage. I sincerely apologize to Mr. Tebow, his family, the Broncos and Patriots and all those whom I may have offended.”