Analyzing the hated sports figure

Football season is upon us. What does that mean for the people of America? Hating Tim Tebow, of course. Seemingly the most polarizing character in all of sports, Tebow elicits a reaction not seen before.

On the forefront of national attention since he was a senior in high school, Tebow is no stranger to media attention. But the attention he is receiving now that he is a professional football player in the media capital of the world, New York, the media obsession is exacerbated.

Open about his religion, it is easy to understand how Tebow is controversial. In politics and even in sports, religion is a dividing characteristic.

Recall the superstar of last year’s basketball season, Jeremy Lin. He, like Tebow, was surrounded by the news frenzy that is typical in New York. Also like Tebow, Lin is outspoken about his religion. He even sports a bracelet that reads, “In Jesus’ Name I Play.”

But Lin wasn’t hated. In fact, he was praised. He was praised for being inspirational to all Asian basketball players. He was praised for his perseverance. He was also praised for his play.

Tim Tebow has also persevered, as many sport “pundits” have declared since the day he was drafted that he would not be able to start in the NFL. Tebow did start. He also carried his Denver Broncos to the playoffs. Tebow both receives too much praise and too much criticism. When he has an average game, it is one for the record books. When he plays below his typical level, he deserves to be benched. And so goes the modern sports fan. The vagaries of sports cannot be analyzed instantaneously. Nonetheless, they are.

ESPN stopped just short of creating another channel solely dedicated to Tim Tebow this preseason. ESPN crews were stationed in Cortland, New York documenting every move Tebow made.

This move is made to appease the modern sports fan. For ESPN, ratings drive content, not the other way around. When ratings are put on the forefront, garbage like that finds its way onto television. Sports fans love to hate. Take LeBron James, for example. Two years after making a bonehead choice to show his

“Decision” on a drawn-out, pompous ESPN special, James still receives an inordinate amount of hate (don’t get me wrong, I love what James said in his decision, but how he said it could have been improved). But for James, that is his only wrongdoing. In two years since, he has stayed remarkably clean, and has done all in his power to regain his popularity with America.

However, as aforementioned, America loves to hate. Inconceivably, James’s involvement with Team USA even had Americans questioning their decision of rooting for Team USA.

While Tebow tries to find his niche in the NFL, the media makes him out to be the most important player that our generation has ever seen. The bottom line is: He isn’t. He does have the opportunity to prove himself, though. He also has the right to speak his mind without fear of persecution. The media attention will simmer down, it almost always does. It should never have started in the first place.

Preston Michelson is a senior at Palmer Trinity School where he is the public address announcer for all varsity sporting events. Contact him on

Twitter@PrestonMich or by email at

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