For full disclosure, I consider myself an Evangelical Christian. Evangelical in the spirit that I hope that by words and deeds that I lead a life that will pique the interest of those around me, and that I have issued invitations to “hang out” or “come with” me after forming close relationships assured that any answer will be all right, I do agree with the author that most of the media is left leaning, but so are most college educated people. I disagree with the notion that is categorically bad and that most reporters can’t be objective. For the record, I voted John McCain. As a DAWG, it is with enormous displeasure to say anything positive about, to come to the aid, of ANY gator.
I reject this article on several fronts. Primarily, on the overall arching theme that Tim Tebow’s Christianity, character and life choices are a determent and vilified in/ by the media, I completely disagree. How else could a 3rd round talent be chosen in the 1st? It was because people were saying, writing and reporting nice things about Tebow. By several pundits you heard “he’ll be successful at the next level because of his leadership abilities.” Never mind that he will more than likely be another footnote in the long line of Quarterbacks who won the Heisman trophy, but have done squadoosh on the NFL field. Another fav cliché thrown out the air waves was “he’s a hard worker.” Unless you are named JaMarcus Russell, EVERBODY studies film, prepares for and works extremely hard. Players drop out of the first round because of off field issues and rumor (Brian Cushing and steroid use at USC, which turned out to be true) and the inverse is also true. A player can be a safe pick because he has no off field trouble and can “be the face of the team”. The positive press, by and large, is EXACTLY the reason that you saw the rise in Tebow stock and he was the 25th pick in the draft; it wasn’t due to talent.
Some of Stuart Schwartz points raised are against reporters that he has distain for rather than beefing up and supporting his central thesis. A prime example of this is when begins his rant against Tony Kornheiser.
Witness Tony Kornheiser, popular ESPN commentator and long-time Washington Post columnist, who often starts his cable show, "PTI," with a leering remark about having sex. In his early sixties with a scraggly beard and balding head, Kornheiser has the on-air presence of the creepy uncle you shoo away from the kids on family picnics...and he has just finished a suspension for making sexist remarks on air about a female colleague.In terms of ideology Tony and Stuart are fairly close, which probably baffles Stuart. Tony was railing against females flaunting themselves, inappropriately dressed, on NATIONAL TV. Which if one was to poll Stuart on, I am most certain that he opposes as well. Should female anchors on TV wear shirts open to the navel, short skirts with 4” heeled red leather boots to the knee? Where’s the Disney wholesomeness it that picture? Plus, this adds nothing to his argument that Tim is singled out by the national media for his beliefs. This is his bias.
As a Dr. – Dr. Schwartz, a published professor of media marketing at Liberty University, I was disappointed in that anecdotal evidence that he uses through out the essay. He uses the Ben Roethlisberger as an example, from beginning to end as an illustration of the double standard that exists in the way players with beliefs (Tim Tebow) are treated as opposed to those (implied antithesis) without beliefs. This is a point that is never clarified through out the piece: Tim is picked on for beliefs as opposed to ____ are not? Players who are in trouble with the law? Diva’s? Players who don’t believe? Players who believe but don’t profess? All the above? No one else, but Tim? Again in terms of full disclosure and that coverage I was highly critical of ESPN not reporting on this Milledgeville story sooner than waiting 48 hours to do so. First, I have never meet Ben; I never have heard that he was agnostic, professing or practicing. I do know that there wasn’t enough EVIDENCE to secure an indictment by the District Attorney in that case, and that threshold is very low proof standard. I do know that’s Ben’s judgment was severely questioned: “If he shows that poor of judgment off the field, how can he show good judgment and lead his team on the field?” Additionally many reporters called for, which he got a ban from the NFL. So by in large, I don’t think that Ben skated by the national sports media. Also from a “Christian” viewpoint, he uses the Mike Vick saga incorrectly. As reported by Tony Dungy, Mike is a new man going from “Bad Newz” kennels to reaffirming his beliefs in the Good News. My faith tells me that turn-a-round events should be more celebration than continued harping over the original sin. My GOD is one of second chances; third, fourth, fifth and sixth for me personally. Redemption.
From the St. Timmy references to being question about his sex life at SEC media day to ridicule for his missionary work, yes Tim Tebow has faced unflattering articles, unwarranted criticism and out-of-bounds questioning. But this is reactionary due to the overwhelming, at times nauseating amounts of, positive press that was occurring – not an onslaught of negative and the press was piling on. It was Tyler Hansbrough –esque. It was GPOOE™ (Greatest Player of our Era) admiration from the vast portion of the media looking for an easy story line to hook readers and listeners. It was lazy reporting that finally led to a backlash that is depicted in Dr. Schwartz’s article. As portrayed no one can be that good. No it isn’t Tim’s fault, nor is it society’s fault when people make bad choices as Dr. Schwartz correctly points out. Can you find those articles that he cites? Yes. Some are taken out of context from my viewpoint. That “St. Timmy” comment was first referenced to how well above the standard QB Tim was playing, a compliment and went uncited. How many more thousands, hundred of thousands, of articles are in a positive light about Tim Tebow? I wished that Dr. Schwartz would have been more empirical and complete in the Lexis-Nexis search before drawing his conclusion.
Even Dr. Schwartz had to admit Tim Tebow’s popularity was not damaged by these few, handful of, negative articles. He cited correctly that Tim has the best selling rookie jersey. Not only is it best selling, but #2 isn’t within shouting distance. This adds further proof on my position that either the articles cited weren’t taken seriously by the reader or if the media “out to get you and tear you down” bias does exists it has failed to find root by mainstream (clear thinking) people. And the alternative I suggest is: this is true because the public is bombarded with positive articles about GPOOE™.
I believe that humility and selfless acts are commendable. I too don’t like family or faith being mocked and in those incidents where attacks occurred, it was wrong. But the linkage between Tim and critics JUST BEACAUSE of his Christianity is just egregious and just erroneous. The vast majority of the pre-draft reporting either only pointed out mechanical error in his throwing motion or was supportive in his efforts to change – it was football related or his “intangibles” would help him. Tim is not the only player picked on by the press. All players face scrutiny, speculation and are subjected to analysis for a host of reasons, year around; to claim otherwise is crying wolf and makes you sound whimpy. Yes, Jeff Pearlman, blog boob heads, et. al were vindictive about his Christianity, but those of Dr Schwartz elk need to recognize that Tim is no longer at N.H.S (Nease High); this is now the N-F-L, brother……. Wear big boy panties to play big boy football.
Question: How does Sarah Palin fit into a sport story again?