‘I Never Did Anything During a National Anthem but Stand,’ Says Tebow
Former quarterback and now pro baseball player pushes back against fake meme that equates his praying with player protests
Tim Tebow isn’t one to dive into controversial topics unprovoked, but he did feel the need to respond to some criticisms against him over the weekend.
As the NFL national anthem-kneeling debate continues, the Left has tried to create a moral equivalency between Tebow’s kneeling in prayer and players like Colin Kaepernick, who knelt for the anthem. A false meme even went viral claiming that Tebow knelt for the anthem to protest abortion in 2012.
Rapper TI was among those who shared it. In his case, he shared it to his 8.5 million followers.
Not only was Tebow on the New York Jets in 2012 (a team that wears green and white uniforms), but the picture does not show where a player would be standing during the anthem; players stand next to one another on the sidelines.
Tim Tebow v. Colin Kaepernick. pic.twitter.com/CLMw1pDoGf
— Hal Dockins (@HalDockins) June 8, 2018
Since Tebow was dragged involuntarily into the situation, he took the chance to clear a couple of things up when he was asked about it. “I think … one of the things that’s a little bit sad is sometimes people will just try to create something that had zero truth,” Tebow told USA Today over the weekend. “I never did anything during a national anthem but stand and support my country. And then stories can get written and they can get put out of proportion, so that you believe one thing when you’re asking me a question that was nothing that was part of the truth.”
“It was never something I did to take away from somebody else,” he added. “It was just something I did with a personal relationship with my God. So I think that’s just sometimes disappointing when things get taken away from the truth and then it’s just created into whatever somebody wants it to be.”
As Tebow points out, kneeling in prayer — not during the anthem — is a lot different from kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest the United States military and law enforcement.
Notice, too, that Tebow did his best to keep politics out of his answer.
After all, he is not someone who goes out and endorses candidates.
Back in October of 2016, when NJ.com asked Tebow about the then-upcoming presidential election and whom he supported, Tebow replied, “No comment.”
As a professional athlete and a person of faith, Tebow understands it’s not his place to tell people whom they should and should not support. If he publicly supports a Republican, the mainstream media will lambaste him for it; if he supports a Democrat, he may disappoint some pro-life and Christian fans.
If he supports a third-party candidate or publicly claims he didn’t vote, he would be criticized as well. Ultimately, someone would be upset no matter what.
Even so, Tebow made clear he respects both God and the American flag without chastising his former peers, and for that he deserves respect. If only some active NFL players would take a look at how Tebow conducts himself and follow suit.
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.