by Robert A. Waters
Is it any wonder that many football fans pull for Tim Tebow? His persona is the exact opposite of what we’ve come to expect from college and NFL players. It seems that a guy like Tebow who combines good works with a Bible-based lifestyle would be praised, not condemned. Yet many sports analysts, who seem to minimize every misdemeanor and felony committed by star athletes, routinely ridicule Tebow’s convictions.
Listed below are snapshots from the lives of a few Tebow contemporaries:
Donte Stallworth. In 2009, Stallworth killed a man. At the time, he was a less-than-stellar wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. After signing a thirty-five million dollar contract, Stallworth repaid his team by catching only seventeen passes. On March 14, he spent all night at a bar celebrating the multi-million dollar bonus he'd just received. That morning, Stallworth sped away in his expensive Bentley and ran down Mario Reyes, a Miami Beach construction worker who was walking home from work. Stallworth’s blood alcohol content was 0.12, above Florida’s legal limit of 0.08. Pleading guilty to manslaughter, the underachieving wide receiver was sentenced to miniscule jail time (30 days), along with community service, house arrest, and probation. Stallworth currently plays for the Washington Redskins.
Cam Newton. While a student and backup to Tebow at the University of Florida, Newton stole a laptop from another student. When police arrived to search for the computer, he tossed it out the window of his dorm. After being arrested, Cam was suspended from the team. He completed a court-approved diversion program, and the charges were dropped. Cam then transferred to little Blinn College where his father allegedly shopped him around in a “pay-for-play” scheme. Cecil Newton’s asking price was more than a hundred thousand dollars. Even though Cam denied knowing of the illegal contact with big-name universities, it was inconceivable to many fans that he could be ignorant of the plan. Cam settled on Auburn and led the Tigers to a national title. He won the 2010 Heisman Trophy and now plays with the Carolina Panthers.
Reggie Bush. The Miami Dolphins running back received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments while at the University of Southern California. He won the Heisman Trophy in 2005 but was shamed into returning it after the NCAA spotlighted his rule-breaking proclivities. Bush left the USC athletic program in shambles. Because of his actions, the Trojan football team was struck with severe sanctions. The team can’t play in a bowl game for two years. In addition, the university lost football scholarships and was forced to revoke all its wins in the 2004-05 championship season. But even with the wreck of a USC program floundering in the maelstrom of adversity, Bush still has his apologists.
Sam Hurd. A few days after Hurd and the Chicago Bears lost to Tim Tebow and the Broncos, the wide receiver was arrested. He allegedly purchased a bag containing one kilogram of cocaine from an undercover ICE agent. According to documents, Hurd indcated that he wanted to become a major player in the Chicago drug world. He also told agents he hoped to buy Mexican cell phones, which he claimed were “untraceable” in America. On December 16, he was released from custody after paying a $100,000 cash bond. Then he was released by the Bears. Allegations that Hurd dealt drugs to other NFL players were denied by his attorney. He has not been convicted of any charges and is legally presumed to be innocent.
Jonny Jolly. In 2011, Jolly was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison for possession of narcotics. In 2008, the former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle was arrested in Texas for possessing 200 grams of codeine. This year, while awaiting trial, he was arrested again after police found 600 grams of codeine in his car. He was also driving with a suspended license. Jolly is currently serving out his sentence.
Albert Haynesworth. In 2009, the defensive tackle signed a seven-year deal with the Washington Redskins. His take? A cool one-hundred million dollars. Nicknamed the “Head Stomper” because of an incident in which he purposely stomped on the head of Dallas Cowboy center Andre Gurode, Haynesworth has a history of violent attacks on others. After several arrests for traffic violations in his home state of Tennessee, Haynesworth was driving his car more than 100 miles per hour when he attempted to pass a vehicle driven by Cory Edmonson. Haynesworth’s car clipped that of Edmondson, causing it to crash into a guard rail. Edmondson was partially paralyzed and is unable walk. Haynesworth got probation. He was let go by the Redskins after refusing to practice. Now he plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Maybe Tim Tebow should renounce his faith and become like these guys.