Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Tim Tebow effect: bias creeps into the sports department

What's the difference between Tim Tebow and Michael Vick?

Right now Tebow gets more bad press.

Let me get this straight: on the one hand, we have a guy who did sick, twisted things to animals and on the other hand we have a squeaky clean kid who wears his religion on his sleeve. And the latter gets hammered in the media?

Tebow is not alone as far as "nice" athletes who get ridiculed for their religious beliefs. Olympians Lolo Jones and Gabby Douglas have also been victims of criticism simply because they believe strongly in a higher power and don't mind telling the world. Jones has the audacity to add that she's a virgin.

Meanwhile, Michael Vick, the guy who went to prison, the guy voted this year in a Forbes Magazine poll as the most disliked athlete in America, is a recipient of gushing praise from sports reporters. As if that stuff with the dogs never ever happened.

Tebow? He has the second best selling NFL jersey behind that famous ne'er-do-well, Peyton Manning. So obviously some media people aren't on the same page as fans.

Yet in an era during which politicians will tap dance and "do the little side-step" on any question while getting a pass from reporters, people like Tebow are criticized for what basically amounts to one thing. Being honest.

It wasn't too long ago that the sports department was immune to political correctness. After 9/11, only sports reporters and anchors were "allowed" to wear American flag pins. But now it appears that bias and agenda have crept into the sports section.

Funny, but every football fan I know roots against the Eagles simply because Michael Vick plays for them. I even know a guy from Philly who wants the Eagles to lose or trade Vick because he can't stand the fact that a felon is quarterbacking his team. Of course, you never hear any of that from the media.

Tim Tebow is an easy target because he's not going to hit back.

Lots of professional athletes have causes as they try to be role models. Justin Tuck raises money for literacy. Tom Brady has an organization for people with disabilities. Drew Brees runs a foundation to help cancer patients. These guys have a cause and use their celebrity to promote it.

Why is that any different from Tebow's cause?

And when did being a good person become something to criticize?

If you want to hammer Tebow because half his passes look like wounded ducks, fine. But if you're going to slam the guy simply because he lives a lifestyle you don't agree with, you're not a real reporter. And you're just as bad as the biased journalists who give our business a bad name.


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