Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 28, 2013

Tebow and Collins deserve respect


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— I will attempt to reply to Daily Telegraph Sports Editor Brian Woodson’s column, “Tebow or Collins, who do you see as a hero?” I would like to digress for a few lines regarding his use of the word “hero.” Athletes are not heroes, they are simply individuals who play sports better than the rest of us. Soldiers, first responders and those who put their lives on the line are heroes.

 I see both as being courageous because they are standing up for their beliefs. They have taken a stand and this is to be applauded. Tebow has received a lot of criticism, much of it unfair because, if given the chance, he has the ability to be a very good football player. Much of the criticism directed toward him is because he expresses his conservative religious beliefs on and off the field. Many people associate this with the conservative religious efforts to force their beliefs on the entire country. You only have to look at the Republican candidates in the Virginia election and the effort that has been made there to make voting more difficult for those voters who disagree with them. Rightly or wrongly, Tebow has become the lightning rod for those that disagree with this effort. Likewise those opposed to this effort had been praising Collins.

 I do take exception to Mr. Woodson’s attempt to discredit Collins. In comparing these two individuals, he was very evident in who he thought was a better player as if this was would give Tebow more credibility. Collins, while he may not be a household name is “a 12-year veteran ... averaging 34 games a season with four teams over the last four years.” Evidently he plays well enough to make the cut. He continues his  Collins diatribe with the statement “... and a few even lesser athletes — if that is possible — have followed him.".

 Again both men are deserving of our respect, not because they are athletes, but  because they are individuals who have taken a stance based on their personal beliefs.  Whether or not we agree with their decisions, they deserve our respect.

Bill Skeet

Athens, Va.