You know what I’m going to say right up front, don’t you? If Tim Tebow were a follower of Islam, this story would be on the front page of the New York Times. But alas, he’s only a Christian – and we all know it’s open season on Christians these days. Nevertheless, when a minor league baseball player gets taunted mercilessly about his faith – splashed on stadium scoreboards and encouraged by the public address announcer no less – it deserves some attention.
Our latest Christian diss was reported on MetsMerizedOnline.com. They posted the following:
The Single-A affiliate of the New York Yankees taunted Tebow during every plate appearance by playing the Hallelujah Chorus, their mascot wore eye black with the Bible verse John 3:16, and on the scoreboard whenever a Columbia Fireflies player came to the plate it said “Not Tim Tebow” under the player’s image rather than the player’s name.
There were also a few more antics throughout the series that were in very poor taste including the ballpark announcer encouraging fans to boo Tebow whenever he came to bat and cheering every strike call. The whole thing was completely appalling.
On Monday, the River Dogs issued an apology.
“While we believe that our promotions were poking fun at Mr. Tebow’s celebrity status rather than his religion or baseball career, our intent was not to offend anyone, and for the fact that we did offend, we are sorry.”
On Tuesday, Sandy Alderson reacted to what happened as reported by Marc Carig of Newsday, “I guess my comment would be that it was all very minor league.”
Minor league, indeed. And they’re sorry? Right. One wonders why it has become so acceptable to deride followers of Jesus and at the same time entirely verboten to do the same with followers of Muhammed?
The 29-year-old ex-NFL quarterback was signed to a minor league contract with the New York Mets earlier this year. The one-time Heisman Trophy winner hopes to make a go of it in baseball. The odds are long, and the work is grueling. Thus far Tebow has made a positive impact, “He brings his team together and inspires them with his work ethic, positive attitude and his willingness to help his teammates. They absolutely love having him in the clubhouse, and they even turn to him for advice on a number of different things,” wrote an author known as Joe D. on MetsMerized.
Whether Tebow ever makes it to the major leagues is anyone’s guess. It does not appear likely, but perhaps that’s not really the issue here. Perhaps it’s not whether Mr. Tebow wins or loses but how he plays the game. Apparently, he’s held his head high with the classic Christian virtue of being graceful when attacked. Good for him.
But shame on us. When did it become acceptable in the American culture to taunt, berate and humiliate Christians publicly? Personally, I find this behavior appalling. At the same time, no less than Jackie Robinson took a hell of a verbal beating and he not only rose above it — he crushed those people with his game.
Let’s hope the same for Mr. Tebow.