December 1, 2009

Tim Tebow and Christian Privilege

tim_tebow_(2).jpgLet me say at the outset that this post is inspired by the recent Florida - Florida State game and a great post at Blag Hag. I was delighted to find Blag Hag's post because I have been meaning to write one like it for a long time.

If you have ever had the misfortune of watching a University of Florida football game, you have undoubtedly heard the commentators fawning all over Florida quarterback Tim Tebow like he just cured cancer. It seems that as soon as Tebow takes the field, any pretense of neutrality is dropped. The guys who call the game actually seem to be rooting for him each and every game. I'm not sure I've seen anything quite like it.

Undoubtedly, Tebow is an amazing player who will be missed at Florida as he graduates and presumably enters the NFL. By beef, aside from the embarrassing behavior of the announcers, is that he feels the need to promote his silly Christian bible by affixing scriptural references to his face during every game.

As Blag Hag points out, Tebow's rabid evangelical Christianity is well known. It has been covered extensively (and uncritically I might add) by the sports press. And yet, I am dumbstruck each time I watch him play that the NCAA, his coach, and the state university he represents allow him to plaster his face with references to the Christian bible.

I have many of the same questions Blag Hag raises. Would a Muslim player be permitted to do this? An atheist? I have other questions as well. How can a publicly-funded university condone this practice? What would happen if he decided to plaster cigarette ads on his face? Is it simply that Tebow's good enough that he's allowed to do anything he pleases.

Blag Hag is right that this seems to be yet another example of Christian privilege. I applaud her for calling attention to it.

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