Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

June 12, 2013

Tebow or Collins, who do you see as a hero?

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Controversial?  Tim Tebow or Jason Collins? Would you believe...Tebow?

First of all, for those who haven’t been paying attention, Tebow is the much-maligned NFL quarterback with the cockeyed throwing motion, who was signed this week by the New England Patriots.

Collins is a professional basketball player that few even knew was still in the NBA — or even existed —  until he announced in a Sports Illustrated article dated on May 6 that he is gay.

Who, would you say, is the controversial one?

Apparently, it is Tebow.

How do I know? I was listening to SiriusXM earlier this week and the announcer came on and talked about the ‘controversial’ Tebow and the ‘baggage’ that he will bring to the Patriots.

Controversial? Baggage?

My reaction? Would someone — who isn’t trying to be politically correct — please explain to me why those words were used to describe Tebow. Perhaps you can answer on the Daily Telegraph Facebook page, drop me an email, give me call or send a letter to the editor, anything to help me understand.

Now, in reality, I know the answer, but it doesn’t make it any less of a head-scratcher. It just shows how the values in this politically correct-focused country continue to drop faster than attendance at Major League Baseball games.

Tebow is a Christian, and he isn’t afraid to show it, either through ‘Tebowing’, quoting scripture, placing a Bible verse on his eye black, living a pure lifestyle or professing his faith in social media.

He is ridiculed for his religion, despite being a Heisman Trophy winner, a national champion at Florida, a starting quarterback for a few magical games during his rookie season with the Denver Broncos and one of the real good guys, not only in sports, but anywhere else.

He hasn’t asked for all this publicity, but the media just can’t seem to help themselves. He isn’t the first athlete to profess his religion, but seems to be the most polarizing since he dare try to play quarterback, which is considered the most important position in the most popular sport in our nation.  

Collins, a 12-year veteran who averaged 6.4 points in his best season with the Nets in 2005, has become an NBA journeyman, averaging 34 games a season with four teams over the last five years.

Who, honestly, can say they even knew Collins was still in the NBA? I knew he had a twin brother, both of whom played at Stanford. Yet, who knew he was still playing basketball?

Yet, Collins dared come out in a national magazine and tell all that he is gay. Since then Collins has been hailed as a hero, even getting a call from President Obama praising him for his courage. He recently threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game — he very quietly played 34 games early this season for the Celtics — and was part of Boston’s recent gay pride parade.

Honestly, I find it to be a non-story, but not the national media.

Now I am sure Collins is a nice guy too, but Tebow is constant magnet of criticism for daring to openly practice his religion, even if he doesn’t try to force it on anyone else. Collins is now openly gay, and has been compared — and I am not making this up — to Jackie Robinson and what he went through to break the color barrier in baseball.

Now that is controversial, not to mention idiotic.

Tebow is apparently considered controversial because he is a good man, a guy who isn’t afraid to show his emotions, a leader who always tries to do what is right, even while being criticized for his ‘evil’ ways.

What drives the so-called experts crazy is that Tebow isn’t your prototypical NFL quarterback. His throwing motion just drives them crazy, and anyone with eyeballs can see it. Urban Meyer had to see it at Florida, but the Ohio State coach didn’t do anything to change it.

Why would he, it helped him win national titles with the Gators?

Part of being a journalist is being objective. Yet, too many of these so-called experts — most of whom are former players — throw out journalistic ethics and profess their sheer dislike for Tebow, all because they can’t stand it that he is different in more ways than just his throwing motion.

Yet, never once has Tebow lashed out at the media or anyone else who may have questioned his ability to play in the NFL. He is ultra-positive and very popular — his jersey is one of the top sellers in the league — and he is fan friendly. I am one of his 2,042,060 — and counting — followers on Facebook.

Now this is not going to turn into a political column. I don’t agree with the gay lifestyle, but that is Collins’ choice and it is his life.  

While Collins now has to face the consequences of ‘coming out’ — and a few even lesser known athletes — if that is possible — have followed him — it is doubtful it will be anything compared to what Tebow has faced, and certainly not what Robinson had to deal with.

Tebow was cut prior to last season by the Broncos and signed with the Jets — which was a mismatch to begin with — and the media feast never ended in New York. He may have found his true calling with the Patriots, where it is rumored he could play, tight end, fullback, special teams or just about anywhere but quarterback.

The media circus should end now. Do you really think that Bill Belichick will allow that to happen to his Patriots? This isn’t Rex Ryan. Don’t look for daily post-practice interviews for a third string quarterback. Belichick has already said as much. In fact, Tebow’s comments after Tuesday’s practice lasted less than 40 seconds.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the media circus would give it up and just let Tebow be? While Collins made a supposedly courageous move by ‘coming out’ it is doubtful he will ever face the ridicule that continues to haunt Tebow.

Collins recently got to throw out the first pitch for a baseball at Boston. He received a ‘nice’ round of applause, and continues to be hailed as a hero.

Wonder if Tebow will the same treatment now that he is playing for the Patriots? Don’t hold your  breath, but if he does, here is hoping the pitch will be right down the middle of the plate.

Let’s hope, as he leaves the mound, Tebow will kneel down and pray.

—Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback to