Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jones: The unfortunate truth about Tim Tebow haters

Over the next week, thousands of people in Tampa Bay will celebrate Tim Tebow being in town to play minor-league baseball.

They will pack the stands in Tampa and Clearwater just to get a glimpse of one of the most famous athletes to ever live. They will cheer him for every little thing he does on the field because they love every little thing he does — and stands for.

But there will be thousands who cannot wait for Tebow to leave town. They're already sick of him. They don't want to hear about him. They don't want to talk about him. They don't want to read about him.

They hate him.

Surely you know someone who hates Tebow. You might be that someone.

"He's a very polarizing figure,'' says Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen, who coached Tebow at Florida. "There are haters in the world. I would say there are more Tim haters than doubters.''

The question is: why? Why do so many people hate Tim Tebow?

He is passionate about every aspect of his life, yet isn't arrogant. He's dedicated. Loyal. He's respectful of others, even those who don't respect him.

He's a leader. He's polite. He's humble even though he's better than most people at everything he has ever attempted.

Those who truly know him have nothing but praise for him. You never hear a bad thing about him from someone who has ever spent significant time around him.

He serves his fellow man, and most of that is done away from cameras and publicity.

He is one of the nicest, kindest, compassionate people on the planet.

Yet, he is hated by more than a few.

VIDEO: Tebow leaves circle to greet autistic boy, then hits a home run

"There are more haters, who say if he doesn't do everything he says, he's not perfect,'' Mullen said. "Here's a young man with very strong values. I think a lot of people are jealous of that because they don't have as strong (a set of) values as he does. So, they try to find fault in him to make themselves look better.''

There it is. It's about God. That's the real reason.

It's not that he's a Gator. Or that he wanted to be an NFL quarterback. Or that he wants to play baseball. Or that he's disingenuous, because he's not.

It's his faith in God.

"People attack,'' Mullen said. "They attack his religion.''

Tebow isn't shy about sharing his beliefs or crediting God for his life. But it's not as if he is forcing people to listen to him. If you don't want to see it, turn off the TV, turn the page, move on to something else.

Yet, the haters say things like, "Why does he have to shove his religion in my face?"

"I respect his faith,'' Mullen said. "It was who he was on a daily basis. It doesn't mean you have to have the exact same faith, but you can sure respect someone who has those strong beliefs. That's a positive way to live your life. Whether you try to do that in religion, or in college football, or the classroom, or in a TV career, or in missionary life — or in trying to play pro baseball — that's a very hard thing to do."

Still, the haters can't wait to see him fail. They rejoice that he can't find an NFL job. They smile whenever they read about him striking out or making an error. Not only don't they want to see him do well, they want to seem him flounder and flop in embarrassing fashion.

It's not good enough that Tebow can't start in the NFL, the haters want to see him out of the league completely. Now those same people are upset that he's playing in a baseball league they don't even follow.

To despise someone like that just isn't normal.

FENNELLY : The difference between Tebow and 'Timmy'

Tebow isn't a criminal. He never did any harm to anyone. Yet the hate runs deep.

Maybe, just maybe, the target of their hate isn't Tebow, but something far more unsettling.

"Tim makes you look at yourself,'' Ohio State and former Gators coach Urban Meyer said. "And sometimes you don't exactly like what you see. I fell into that. I never met someone quite like that, someone who, from A to Z, what he's living is real.

"He makes you self-evaluate. Sometimes I look at his critics and, while I don't feel sorry for them, I wonder what's the issue here?''

Tebow believes in God. He believes in service. He believes in trying to impact people in a positive way, to make their lives better. He believes in doing whatever it takes, including playing baseball, to the best of his ability to reach people and share his story and make a difference in the world.

What's wrong with that, exactly?

Maybe if people spent the energy it takes to hate Tebow on living their lives more like Tebow, the world would be a much better place.

Contact Tom Jones at tjones@tampabay.com. Follow @tomwjones

Jones: The unfortunate truth about Tim Tebow haters 08/11/17 [Last modified: Sunday, August 13, 2017 10:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Charlie Strong, Gulf High and the best (old) Jon Gruden-Tennessee rumor

    Blogs

    As Butch Jones keeps losing, Tennessee Vols fans are turning to one of the media's favorite pastimes.

    Jon Gruden coaching rumors.

  2. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  3. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  4. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  5. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.