After some Detroit Lions players mocked Denver Broncos’ Tim Tebow’s prayer stance on the football field, some have questioned if lines were crossed and the QB’s faith was the butt of the joke.
Jemele Hill, ESPN reporter, said the QB’s faith should be off limits to opponents.
“Ridicule Tim Tebow for his slow release, for missing open receivers, for throwing passes that sail out of bounds, and for sometimes dancing in the pocket like someone put a firecracker in his cleats,” Hill wrote. “That's fair game. But mocking Tebow's Christian beliefs is not.”
However, Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch took to Twitter to explain that his actions may have been take out of context.
“Football is a form of entertainment," Tulloch tweeted. "Have a sense of humor. I wasn't mocking GOD!"
Tony Scheffler, Lions’ tight end, joined in poking fun at the Tebow meme, after catching a touchdown pass and pretending to kneel with his hand on his forehead.
"It's one of those things where you're so amped up, especially being back kind of where it all started for me," Scheffler said after the game. "I was amped up just doing whatever came into my head. It was fun."
However, Hill made it very clear that prayer was a sensitive subject for many.
“Prayer is a sacred component of any religion,” Hill wrote in an ESPN report. “Making fun of someone else's spiritual connection is on par with ridiculing them about their family. You don't have to be a Christian to get that, just someone who understands the concept of respect.”
Jim Schwartz, Lions’ coach, said he did not like the way his team was being framed as villains.
“I don't think that's appropriate at all for anybody associated with the game to bill it that way and it was especially disappointing coming from an arm of the NFL," Schwartz said in an ESPN report.
While many have debated the issue, Tebow took to his Twitter to continue showcasing his Christian devotion.
“Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart,” Tebow tweeted. “For consider what great things he has done for you.”