Friday, August 28, 2009

What Would Tim Tebow Do?

The Fort Myers Miracle, a Class A minor league baseball team, are known for their creative promotions. Some of their promotional highlights include “Shiny Head Movement Night”, “Job Sway Day”, and “Paper Airplane Giveaway Night”.

Since minor league baseball teams don’t have the big name players to draw fans in, they need to rely on creative promotions to draw the crowds. The Miracle are consistently one of the most innovative organizations around each year.

Recently, they had planned to have a “What Would Tim Tebow Do” promotion. Some of the activities planned for the evening was a ceremonial jump pass to start the game (which Tebow is known for when he plays), and promise rings were to be passed out to each fan in attendance. The Miracle even found a man named Tim Tebo that they wanted to come and participate in the activities, but were unable to convince him to be a part of the event.

For those that don’t know, besides being a great college football player, Tebow is known for his charitable work. He regularly takes mission trips overseas to spread the word of the gospel. Tebow also makes regular appearances in prisons to speak with inmates who are on death row.

I do respect Tebow immensely for the work he does. He is able to use his status as one of the best college football players in the country to spread the word of God.

What I don’t respect, and what the Fort Myers Miracle are poking fun at, is the way that the media portrays Tebow as a saint. Florida football fans commonly refer to Tebow as “the chosen one”. Then there are the newspapers, magazines, and sportscasters alike that seem to think that there is no other human being on the planet as worthy as Tim Tebow.

For example, in last years National Championship game between Florida and Oklahoma, Thom Brennaman gushed over how great Tim Tebow was so many times that he might as well have just professed his undying love him.

During the game, Brennaman stated such moronic statements like “If you’re fortunate enough to spend 5 minutes, or 20 minutes with Tim Tebow, your life is better for it”. When Tebow got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on him, Brennaman said that it might be the only thing that Tebow has ever done wrong. (R.I.P. Thom Brennaman’s respect as a journalist)

So when the University of Florida found out that the For Myers Miracle were planning on staging a “What Would Tim Tebow Do” promotion, they quickly sent out a cease and desist email to the Miracle. In this email, written by senior associate athletic director Jamie McCloskey, it was stated that under NCAA rules, it is not permissible to use the name or picture of a student-athlete in the promotion of a commercial product or service and failure to abide by this would result in the student-athlete being ineligible.

I can respect the fact that rules are rules. But honestly, how often do we hear of some college facing a penalty because they didn’t follow the rules to the letter?

Out of curiosity, I looked at the University of Florida’s athletic web site. They have a link where you can shop for Gator merchandise. As I was skimming through the pages, I found magazines, DVD’s, books, and autographed memorabilia that all had either Tebow’s name or his picture. They also have many of Tebow’s #15 jersey for sale, but those do not have his name on the back. But everyone knows that it is Tebow’s jersey.

Am I crazy, or would the Gators merchandise be considered a commercial product? I think so.

So why would the Florida athletic department be so concerned with the Miracle staging a “What Would Tim Tebow Do”?

I believe that it is because he is so loved and thought so highly of that they do not want him to be part of anything that could be construed as making fun of him.

But, just like the Florida Gators and the rest of the NCAA find ways around the rules, the Miracle found a way to still stage their promotion. Instead of the name “Tim Tebow”, they used “TT”.

Tim Tebow is one of the best college football players that I’ve ever seen play. It’s possible that he could go down in history as the best player in college football history. I just think that it’s ridiculous at how people have put him up on this pedestal of greatness. He’s not the only college student that goes out and does charity work. He’s probably the most famous because he is a quarterback at the University of Florida.

People need to realize that he’s still just a college football player. A famous one, but still just a football player.

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