New Orleans Saints Bounty Program: The Tip of the NFL Ethical Iceberg
What is Civility?

TebowMania in New York

Will Tebow-ing Play Well in NYC?

The headline of the NY Daily News last Sunday read: “Newest NY Jet Tim Tebow paints the town green on Broadway: 'Wicked' time as quarterback takes in his first Broadway show

Does this mean his every move will be followed, analyzed, and commented upon in print? I can just see it now:

  • Tebow goes grocery shipping at a vegan supermarket
  • Tebow caught eating a burger and fries at the Burger Joint inside Le Parker Meridien Hotel
  • Tebow prays at Christian City Church in Manhattan
  • Tebow caught entering Temple Emanu-El without a yarmulka

This is getting ridiculous people. Tebow is not any different from you or me except that he knows how to play football – quarterbacking aside. There is no doubt that he is an outstanding athlete. That’s why the NY Jets wanted him. His particular skill set and athletic ability open up possibilities on the field including the wildcat formation.

How unusual is it that the other sports mania in recent times just recently occurred in NYC when Jeremy Lin emerged as something of a cult hero after catapulting to stardom as the New York Knicks point guard. Linsanity swept the city like few events before it. What do Tebow and Lin have in common? They both have openly discussed their evangelical faith.

Personally, I don’t get it. What is the big deal that he bows down after a touchdown pass and gives thanks? I’ve seen players pray on the sideline. There are prayer gatherings after a game to give thanks. It must be that Tebow speaks openly about his faith.  Perhaps some people are afraid of it. Their sons and daughters might seek to be like Tebow. I can think of worse role models for young people to emulate.

Critics have pointed out that God does not take sides in football games and to inject God’s name as a form of thanks after throwing a touchdown pass minimizes what God really stands for – it is with the poor; with the down and out; it is with those seeking forgiveness.

However, I did some research and found this quote from Psalm 121 (‘The Lord is Thy Keeper’) of The Holy Bible: King James Version:

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills,

            from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the LORD,

            which made heaven and earth”.

When viewed in this context I have to believe Tebow is being a good Christian. Now I’m not Christian, and I teach ethics but it is without a religious slant other than to say much of religious thought comes from the biblical passage:  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." By extension, The Golden Rule calls on us to treat others the way we want to be treated – with respect, compassion, kindness, fairness, honesty, and so on.

I tell my students that it does not matter what are your religious beliefs. But, believe in something; believe that it matters what you do and say while on this Earth; know that your actions have consequences and how you treat others triggers those consequences; and embrace the notion that we should strive to leave this Earth a better place than when we arrived.

Tebow demonstrated great character at the news conference this past Monday that introduced him to NY media. When asked about his role on the Jets given Mark Sanchez is the starting quarterback, Tebow said: "However I can help the team, however I can make a difference, however they can use me, I'll be open to it and work as hard as I can every time I step on the field. I will give my whole heart and soul to being the best Jet I can possibly be in trying to help this team win football games."

One thing even Tebow’s most ardent critics can’t fault him for is his charity work.  In addition to his missionary work with orphanages in the Philippines, he regularly brings sick children to his games through his foundation. Tebow brought Joey Norris, a young boy with cancer, to the playoff game against the New England Patriots, and where the Broncos suffered what he called a devastating loss.

“I was extremely disappointed,” Tebow said. “But I still have a kid who is fighting for his life, and I have a choice to make. I can choose to sulk and feel pity after this loss and this disappointment. I can choose to try to go invest in him and try to encourage him and make him smile and be a part of his life. That really changes your perspective as a young man and as an athlete.  For me to try to invest in him, he helped me more than I helped him on that night.”

There is an old expression: "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." When applied to Tebow we can see how he fits the mold of a good role model for youngsters striving to be...well, the next Tim Tebow.

Blog posted by Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, on March 29, 2012