Tim Tebow-Michael Sam comparisons have had fingers flying on conservative and christian Web sites since the ESPN video showing Sam celebrate his NFL draft by kissing his boyfriend exploded in sport news.
But that’s not how I first learned about the “controversy” of the hypocrisy between the reception of the two players into the very public life that comes with entering the National Football League.
I first saw the now infamous opinion cartoon showing a side-by-side comparison of the media’s perceived treatment of the Tebow-Collins stories when a religious friend shared it a few days ago on their Facebook news feed.
The cartoon was just the first in a long list of posts on the topic from my friends of the faithful persuasion.
But it was an opinion piece shared by one friend that finally elicited a real response on the topic.
Appreciated, as I’ve been a slacker of sorts in the writing department lately.
Breakdown of the Walsh post
Walsh starts out with the typical “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” vibe leftover from the 90’s.You don’t get to have it both ways. You can tell me that your sexuality is nobody’s business — what you do in your bedroom is between you and whoever you do it with — and I’ll agree. I’ve never taken it upon myself to approach a group of strangers and survey them about their carnal propensities.
He continues by saying:Your sexuality is none of my business, right? Yes. Fine. Sounds good to me. But this “none of my business” shtick is a two way street, friend. What exactly does it mean for a thing to be “none of my business” when you’re holding a press conference and proclaiming it to the entire world?
After a bit of blathering:If you simply wish to be accepted, perhaps you’d discuss these private details with those closest to you. If you wish to be celebrated, you throw yourself a party and call the press.
And then he gets to the reason he’s really butt-hurt:Say what you will about Tim Tebow; one thing you can’t deny is that the dude was told loudly, harshly, and frequently, to ‘keep his religion to himself.’ Football isn’t a place for religion, they said.
Ah, the Tim Tebow complex:Other current and former NFL players, like Jake Plummer, said they wished Tebow would “shut up” with the Jesus talk. Plummer was never chastised for making those statements, and no player was ever fined for complaining about Tebow’s overt religiosity. Will players who tell Sam to “shut up” with the gay talk be treated as leniently? I guess that question has already been answered. One Miami Dolphin sent out a two word disparaging Tweet when ESPN spent 26 hours airing footage of the now famous same-sex kiss. The offender has since been fined and banned from the team until he undergoes ‘educational training.’ Ex-NFLer Derrick Ward expressed his view that ESPN shouldn’t have aired the kiss, and now people are threatening to kill him because of it. The double standard is so obvious, so inevitable, and so common that I’m bored with pointing it out. Tell Tebow to stop praising his Lord and Savior, and the country will laugh and cheer along, but tell Sam to stop trying to turn his sex life into international headlines, and you’ll be bound, gagged, and tossed into a river.
Walsh’s post is nothing more than the often waved flag of persecution by the dogmatically evangelical.
They distort a man’s teachings to fit their own archaic versions of how one should live out their existence. But that’s just the beginning of the problem with this particular brand of belief.
They use these distortions as justification for the denial of the rights of those they see as unworthy. They distort, not only Jesus’ teachings, but the Constitution in this effort.
And then, they claim that is what is being done to them. The so-called “wars” on Christmas, christians, and the right to religious beliefs and convictions. The idea that equality automatically ensures the destruction of their rights.
The idea that they are unable to practice their religious faith, in a country where roughly 75% of its citizens define as christian, if everyone is allowed equal access to the rights afforded by the Constitution.
My take on the incomparable issues
The Tim Tebow Complex
Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
According to scripture, Tebow got his reward. He’s a mediocre player who should have been focusing on his performance at work rather than how often he could take a knee and prove how pious he is to the world.
No one told “Tebow to stop praising his Lord and Saviour.” Tebow’s public display of religion lacked sincerity, not to mention the humility relayed in Jesus’ teachings. Tebow was mocked because he continuously invoked a deity who seemingly cared little about helping him improve his stats, while doing little that conveyed he actually followed his teachings.
Tim Tebow was not drummed out of the NFL because of his faith; he didn’t make it because he wasn’t good at his job (Whether or not the same is true of Michael Sam’s abilities remains to be seen.). People with a persecution complex made it about religion. And yes, it is a perceived persecution when nearly three-quarters of the nation refer to themselves as christians. Something that is actually a personal choice.
The Michael Sam Complex
The likelihood is that Sam was advised to make an announcement in order to preempt, and control the story, before someone else made it for him. Because it would be a story either way. Our society makes it one. He was being considered for one of the most enviable, and public, positions a person can be chosen to do.
Walsh is really saying, “keep it in the bedroom. I don’t want to see you show your disgusting homosexual affection in public. Just because the law says you’re equal doesn’t mean you get the same rights and respect that I do as a more worthy heterosexual human.”
No one had to dig to find tweets disparaging Sam. The two pointed out by Walsh are famous current and former players. Don Jones didn’t send his tweet after 26 hours of coverage on “the kiss;” he sent it after the kiss was first aired. The words “horrible” and “disgusting” were used to describe Sam’s celebration of a huge moment in his life and career. A career which garners spotlight because people worship football in this country.
These remarks made “the kiss” into a story. Something that would not have occurred for any player being picked and kissing their girlfriend/wife in a celebratory moment. And that is the crux of the story, why is it that this man kissing his significant other, in the same way any other couple would celebrate a profound and life-changing instance, is such a big deal? Sam didn’t cause that; even with announcing his sexuality prior to the pick, he is not the one who made this a thing to be talked about incessantly.
An openly gay man who becomes an NFL football player is going to be a story. It shouldn’t be, but our society dictates it. Sam isn’t calling himself a hero, other people are referring to him as one. There are those who are told they are horrible and disgusting to their face just for being who they are; he provides hope for an existence without daily disparaging and hatefulness.
Hatefulness that often comes from those who strut about in their self-righteousness and piety; those who use their holy books as justification for their poor treatment of others they consider less than worthy of life, let alone attention; those who deny others the right to peacefully exist in the simplicities of day-to-day life;those who deny others the same rights under the Constitution that they enjoy themselves.
And that, is the true, “obvious, and so common” hypocrisy of this story.
If people actually followed and applied the teachings of Jesus, especially those who so fervently and dogmatically preach it, the world could be a much better place.