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. Bucs-Bills roundtable: Deonte Thompson's late catch spelled 'instant disaster' for Bucs

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Adam Humphries' fumble led to the Bills' game-winning field goal in Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss Sunday at Buffalo. But the Bills' first play after the Bucs finally took the lead was almost as deadly.

    The Buffalo Bills' Deonte Thompson (10) catches a pass in front of Bucs cornerback Brent Grimes (24) during the first half. [AP photo]
  2. Bucs-Bills: Instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Here's the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team's instant analysis from the Bucs' 30-27 loss at Buffalo:

    YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP

    Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Matt Milano (58) intercepts a Jameis Winston (3) pass intended for tight end Cameron Brate (84) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Bucs overcome 11-point deficit, then allow game to slip away, 30-27, to Bills

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — In less than a minute, a hard-fought win — and perhaps much more — slipped away from the Bucs, who gave up 10 points in the final four minutes and lost to the Bills, …

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) tries to turn the corner as Bucs outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) forces him out of bounds during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. AP Top 25: USF stays ahead of UCF, but just barely

    Blogs

    USF remains ahead of UCF in the latest AP Top 25 poll - but just barely.

    Quinton Flowers and USF dropped one spot to No. 17 in the latest rankings.
  5. Lightning Strikes! podcast: Breaking down the Bolts' record start

    Blogs

    In this episode of our Lightning Strikes! podcast, we break down the Lightning's record 7-1-1 start. Why are Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos clicking so well? Why Mikhail Sergachev is likely here …

    Why are Steven Stamkos, pictured, and Nikita Kucherov clicking so well?