Tim Tebow: Praising the Player. Hating the Game.

Last Friday, I wrote a column stating that Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow deserved our pity. Statistically, over his previous three games, all losses, he had been beyond terrible. I pointed out that on Sunday, he would be facing the league’s number-one defense, a Pittsburgh Steelers squad so mean, to use an old saying, that they’d cry over Tebow’s mangled body just to get salt in his wounds. I thought Tebow and his awkward hand grenade throwing motion was headed for a long, sad offseason. I was dead wrong.

The Broncos won 29-23 in overtime, and Tebow threw for over 300 yards including an eighty-yard touchdown pass to win the game. Even more impressively, he only completed ten passes, for an unreal thirty-one yards per completion. Pity this sportswriter, because I’ve been bombarded by Tebow Tee-hadists telling me that I don’t know my ass from my elbow. And on this day they’re right. I was wrong on Tebow, and that’s not all I was wrong about.

My central Xs and Os mistake in predicting a Pittsburgh blowout was ignoring the injuries that had ravaged the Steelers. Their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, had one working leg, with his other ankle swollen to badly he had to wear a larger shoe. Their Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey and starting running back Rashard Mendenhall were both out with injuries. Their safety Ryan Clark also couldn’t play with a serious blood disorder. It was certainly ignorant of me to ignore that long list. But I made an even bigger mistake than that.

I made the cardinal error of applying the laws of politics to sports. In the last two weeks, two Republican primary also-rans—Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry—invoked the name of Tim “Focus on the Family” Tebow to inspire their flagging Christianist base. To put it mildly, the gambit failed to work for either candidate. I was over-eager to see Tebow then fail in their footsteps.

In what is not news to my regular readers, I abhor the kinds of politics that Bachmann, Perry and, yes, Tebow, represent. I consider it repellent when politicians crush the hard-won freedoms of others in the name of their version of Jesus Christ. To see LGBT people and women’s reproductive rights demonized, and have that be accepted as mainstream political discourse, demands a vigorous response.

I further can’t stand that Tim Tebow gets a media pass for his extremist politics—the politics of Christianist hegemony—while so many athletes over the years have had their livelihoods destroyed for daring to speak out for the outnumbered and oppressed. I can’t stand the way we all know but don’t say that if Tebow was a devout Muslim, the media narrative about his “faith” would be profoundly different.

If the Bachmann/Perry duo fell short, then surely Tebow would also falter, right? Wouldn’t that be the karmic trifecta?

That didn’t happen, nor should it have happened. But that’s also the great thing about sports, the thing that makes it superior to Beltway elephant/jackass politics. The game is decided on the field, transparently and in full view. There are no Super Pacs to hide behind once the opening whistle sounds. As former NBA player Rasheed Wallace famously said, “Ball don’t lie.” When it counted, against the Steelers in the playoffs, Tim Tebow was the truth. As a sportswriter, I forgot that the game plays by its own rules, and they’re rules governed by heart, skill and coaching. Tebow and the Broncos won on every count. I have lost the debate on Tim Tebow’s skill as a quarterback. But I’ll still challenge Tim Tebow’s politics for as long as necessary. And in that battle, the fight continues.

42 Reader Comments | Add a comment

Good Column

You could have made it even better by acknowledging that you have ignored Albert Pujols for the same reason you detest Tebow. You perform a needed service by exposing much of the hypocrisy that exists in the sports world, as well as the rampant homophobia and the way athletes are bullied to toe the line politically. But Pujols is one of the greatest baseball players of our lifetimes. He's also totally clean in the steroid era yet you seem to try to pretend that he doesn't exist just because he's a religious-right conservative. At least acknowledge his greatness while simultaneously attacking his religious/political beliefs.

One game is one game

I'm a Broncos fan, and football has rarely made has entertained and happy as it did last night.


It was one game. As much as I like certain things about Tebow as a player, "one incredible passing performance" is a long way from "legitimate NFL starting quarterback."

Well said

Well said, Dave. Tebow is easy pickings for a column, but it stings like hell when he wins.

But lets not make him out to be something he's not, just yet. It would be just as disingenuous to paint him as a star NFL QB because of one playoff win, just as it was to plan his demise against the Steelers because of his political views,

Worst. Sports Prognosticator. Ever.

"Zirin sports prediction" and "accuracy" repel each other like two polar magnets.

Roh roh -- Comrade Zirin praises Tebow's skills. Looks like Tebow is in for a rough day in Foxboro . . . .

'Tim Tebow, Focus on the Family spokesperson, missionary, and anti-abortion crusader, found out yesterday that all the charisma, good looks, and athleticism in the world won't help you play quarterback in the NFL if you can't throw a football.' 'Tebow Exposed, 10/31/11'

-- Tebow promptly goes 4-1.

'You are what your record says you are, and Tim Tebow is 4-1.' 'Tebow Redeemed?, 11/22/11.'

--Tebow loses last 3 of the season.

'This weekend Tebow is going to be fed to the Steelers, a unit that covets nothing less than his destruction.' 'Pity Tim Tebow. Seriously., 1/6/12'

---Denver 29 - Pittsburgh 23.


Count me as one of your readers who read your previous Tebow article and was confused. Frankly I have come to expect this a bit from your blog posts as they often conflate. However this one in particular was strange to me....

You have written articles in the past about Ben Rothlesberger and him being a sexual predator. (which I agree with) You compared the Steelers to Occupy Wall Street and Teamsters in that article....WTF? They are still Pro football players, who generally speaking have priorities very different from average people. The industry itself is rotten. I love sport, but you apparently will malign and laud the same athlete if it fits your ideological argument.

Second point...

Tebow as a celebrity personality is a fucking joke, just like any other public personality that serves varied industry goals generally revolving around advertising dollars. However - he may help change the pro game. I would like to see more Oregon Duck style offenses in the NFL. I think it's a more egalitarian approach to the game, and the idea there is a possibly superior style of play that is more team oriented is exciting. More zone reads, the field being spread, and wide receivers blocking, and generally athletes working as a team is positive to me.

I want to see football change. Maybe this recent craze helps to shift (just slightly) what our idea of football should be. I agree that Tebow is repulsive in prostituting himself for so many evangelical causes. But it's just more complicated than your analysis in that article.

In fact it's an issue with many of your articles. You are writing about an industry that does not let you reach the top unless you are obedient on the important stuff, and then promptly lament the fact athletes have their priorities so backwards.


Tebow as a legit quarterback is still for time to decide. He got lucky against the Steelers due to injuries, and because of a crazy rule that allows a team to win on the first posession of OT without the other team having a chance.

Dave you are right on about how crazies own the media and distort reality so guys with Tebow's suspect talent and hateful poltiics can be idolized while real heroes (Ali for decades after refusing the draft) are demonized.

Brilliant, John S.

"You are writing about an industry that does not let you reach the top unless you are obedient on the important stuff, and then promptly lament the fact athletes have their priorities so backwards."

Zirin won't be happy until all prominent athletes receive death threats for oppositional views, a la John Carlos. Or if they just suck and have nothing to lose, like his other pal Etan Thomas. Total limousine liberal mindset -- let the guys in the trenches do the dirty work, while I [Zirin] can host a radio show with my buddies.

Then again, most rightwingers do the same thing. A pox on all their houses. Oh well, at least this mea culpa was good to read; most hard-Left or hard-Right personalities like pretty much everyone on MSNBC or Fox are so self-righteously stuck up their own arses they would never retract anything unless it's a firing offense.

Tebow- Christianity

I'm a Christian....well said sir !

Teams Still Win Games

Even in victory, Tebow is still a bum. We're talking about guy who averaged what is easily a league low 19.4 pass attempts per game, and he was still in last place in completion percentage by a long shot. A real gun slinger that Tebow is. Now just imagine what an awful site it would to see this bum try to run the Packers offense. Would be like ruining a symphony orchestra with somebody who doesn't know how to play his instrument.

Against the Steelers he was only 9 for 20 in regulation. Hardly setting the world on fire. Luckily for the Broncos they managed to get 226 yards of offense out of those completions for an average of 25 yards a completion, which is nearly double what he averaged during the regular season.

Bums taking the snaps behind center can occasionally find themselves in the right place at the right time, like Trent Dilfer with the Ravens in 2000. Dilfer had a very mediocre career, completing just 55.5% of his passes, tossing 129 INT's vs. 113 TD's, and had a career passer rating of 70.2. Yet he "led" a team to victory in a Super Bowl, and we all know why that team easily won it all that year.

Put Tebow on a team with a good running game that only requires him to air it out about 20 times a game at most, a good enough defense, and his deficiencies as a passer won't hurt his team too much. Much like that awesome defense for the Ravens was so good it didn't matter that they had a sub par offense run by a sub par bum of a QB.

It's All Relative

DZ can't stand Tebow "gets a media pass for his extremist politics..." I assume Dave wants the media to be in lockstep with him. I like DZ because he steps out of the box. I also suspect DZ is questioning the herd mentality of MSM sportswriters. But after reading many of DZ's writings, he also confines himself to a hegemony which is leftist,secular, and contrarian, and these traits can be just as limiiting as Tebow's Christian hegemony.

Leftist, secular, hegemony?

Leftist, secular, hegemony? How many congressional candidates present themselves as "leftist" or "secular"?

A recent study has shown that people trust atheist less than members of any religion and are likely to presume bad behavior comes from atheist.

Many atheists believe they would lose their job if they "came out". Some hegemony!

Link to study

Here is a link to an article on the study. From there, you can link to the study itself:


To Murfmensch

If you are using congressional candidates as your standard I would agree with you, however, there are people besides politicans. Atheists can be just as dogmatic as religious zealots. Labeling people as atheists or fundamentalist without any effort to know what other issues are involved slights the conversation.

Why the Broncos Won

It wasn't because "Tim Tebow was the truth" (WTF, Dave?). It wasn't even because he suddenly became a great quarterback when he neeed to. He didn't.

Putting aside the Steeler injuries (all teams have them; the Broncos were without their best tackler, too), the Broncos won because they played to win, for once. They ditched a lot (not all) of their gimmicks and let Tebow throw the ball like an NFL quarterback. The guy's no Tom Brady, but he can hit his target now and then.

But most importantly, they varied their play-calling just enough (barely) so that Tebow wasn't throwing on third-and-forever every time. And then his mediocre-at-best receivers have a chance to get open. If the Broncos go back to pound-and-ground, they're doomed. If they give Tebow some breathing room, they have a chance.

Plus their defense, though porous, comes up with the plays when they need to, especially in the red zone.

The thing that made Tebow a cut above during the regular season was that even in a terrible play-calling offense, facing impossible downs with no receivers open, his strength allows him to avoid the sack. And his running ability helps keep the defenses a little more honest. That's why they won with Tebow and not Orton.


How can anyone read this and not hate Tebow. This shows him for who he really is.

"Gator fan gets experience of a lifetime as he meets his hero"

It isn’t everyday that a 7-year-old boy with cerebral palsy has the opportunity to meet his real life hero.

Fortunately for my grandson Boomer, he had the opportunity to meet University of Florida head football coach Urban Meyer at the Winged Foot Scholarship Foundation annual banquet last May where Meyer was the keynote speaker.

In March, Boomer had undergone extensive surgery on his legs which required him to be in a full-length cast (which they applied in orange and blue). Boomer’s goal was to be able to get out of his wheelchair and walk up to shake Meyer’s hand when they met at Winged Foot. Boomer did not want to be in his wheelchair when he met his favorite coach.

I had explained all of this to Meyer prior to the event but I’m not sure he was emotionally prepared to watch Boomer struggle to get out of his chair and painfully take the two or three steps necessary to approach him. Meyer got down on one knee in order to meet and speak to Boomer and you could tell immediately he was moved by what he had just witnessed.

While speaking to Boomer, Meyer asked him if he would like to come up to Gainesville to meet his favorite player, Tim Tebow, take a tour of the athletic facilities and then attend the football game the following day. Of course, Boomer was thrilled with the invitation as was the rest of his family, especially his mother who attended UF and is a huge Gator fan.

Plans were made for Boomer and family to travel to Gainesville for the season opener against Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 5. Meyer’s assistant, Nancy Scarborough, made all of the arrangements and we met her at the stadium at 11:00 a.m. on Friday. Scarborough explained that Tebow would be in the coach’s office at 11:15 in order to meet Boomer, have some pictures taken and sign a few autographs before having to leave by 11:30 for media commitments.

During those 15 minutes, Tebow treated Boomer like he was his best friend. The attention and kindness he showed to Boomer was priceless and the experience that was created was something that Boomer will never forget.

Tebow had to leave, but Meyer and Scarborough continued to show us around the office area. At one point, we went into Meyer’s office to take in all of the memorabilia on display. The coach was at his desk when he picked up a picture of him and Tebow hugging after the national championship game and proceeded to take it out of the frame and autograph it.

Suddenly, Tebow reappeared and also signed the picture before presenting it to Boomer as a memento of his trip. What happened next astounded all of us, with the exception of Meyer, when Tebow took control of Boomer’s wheelchair and proceeded to give us a guided tour of the entire stadium himself. Over the next one and a half hours, we visited the workout facilities, training room, locker room and the football stadium, all with Tebow pushing Boomer and leading the way.

We returned to the coach’s office to say goodbye to Meyer. As we were talking, Tebow turned to Boomer and said, “How would you like to come on the field with me tomorrow for the pre game warm-up?”

Meyer added, “And how about after the game you join us in the locker room to be a part of the post-game activities?”

It was no surprise that both offers were readily accepted with one of the biggest smiles you have ever seen.

Friday night, Boomer’s grandmother asked him if today was the greatest day of his life. Boomer replied that tomorrow will be the greatest day and today will be the second best. I’ll be darned if he wasn’t right.

As promised, as the team entered the Swamp for their pre-game warm-ups, Tebow ran on the field pushing Boomer in his wheelchair. As the team lined up for stretching, Tebow wheeled Boomer up and down every row of players so that he could shake all of their hands.

Boomer stayed on the field throughout the warm-ups watching his hero prepare for the game. Boomer was then escorted to a private box reserved for the coach’s wives and families to watch the game.

Towards the end of the fourth quarter, Boomer was taken down to the locker room where Tebow brought him in to celebrate the Florida victory along with the rest of the team. A football was passed around for every player to sign for Boomer and then he was wheeled to the center of the room where he was surrounded by the entire team for their post-game prayer.

We will remember this experience for the rest of our lives and we will all be forever Gator fans for what we were so fortunate to have been a part of. We are so grateful to Meyer and Scarborough for all they did to make these two days the most special days in Boomer’s life, but we will never forget everything that Tebow did for Boomer.

Tebow did not need to take one and a half hours out of his day to spend with a 7-year-old boy who he had just met. Tebow did not need to invite this same boy to join him on the field for the pre-game warm-up or bring him into the locker room. Tebow did these things out of the goodness of his heart so that our grandson would have the experience of his life.

Meyer said, “It was just Tim being Tim,” and believe me, that is exactly what it was. Tebow wasn’t looking for recognition or a pat on the back for himself.

All Tebow wanted was to give a gift to a young boy who has struggled through many physical hardships and who has endured more than his share of pain.

Many Florida fans refer to Tebow as “Superman.” I used to snicker when I heard this. Not anymore.


Just like Dave made the mistake of thinking that other things that have nothing to do with the actual game that is being played on the field, the Tebow lovers do the same thing for the opposite reasons! I personally hate debating opinions, because everybody is entitled to them no matter how retarded. But FACTS, now those cannot be argued. And the FACTS are, that in just about every win except for two of them this year, his stats have been below average! Even John Elway, arguably the greatest to EVER play the possition, acknowledges that Tebow has a lot of work to do if he wants to remain a starting QB in the league. There is nothing wrong with pointing out ones short comings. But what is also FACT is that he is WINNING! No matter what anyone says about his style of play it's still getting the job done. At the moment... I agree with Dave in regards to how the media handles him. I don't think it's Tebow we are irritated with, it's more so the same ol bias that is shown towards someone who is white and a Christian as opposed to a person of color who is not. I can name more black QBs who could run AND throw better than Tebow since we were allowed to play and dominate the league who were never given that kind of opportunity! Players like Condredge Halloway and Warren Moon (played 4 years in Canada because he "couldn't play QB. Only to return as the highest paid player in NFL History). How does Alex Smith stay in the league all this time playing the way he played the previous SEVEN YEARS?!? But Brad Smith, Chris Leak, Akili Smith, Reggie McNeil and COUNTLESS other QBs who can run and throw have to change positions or get another job?!? David Carr is still playing QB! Alex Smith is still playing QB! John Beck is still playing QB! Josh McCown is still playing! I can keep going but I won't. They sit up here and bash all the other guys for being able to run and throw but somehow this guy Tebow is different right?!? Why cant Leak and the other guys be backups and learn for a while like the other QBs who ALL accomplished more than they did at the collegiate level?! How does Blaine Gabbert go 10th overall??? A guy who had 16Tds and 8 pics as a seinior??? Jake Locker??Their have been countless athletes who have spoken out about their morals and values that didn't exactly mesh with the "Norm" here. Not only were they told to keep their mouths shut, a lot of them got their athletic careers taken because of it! But Tebow gets praise for something that has been going on since John Carlos and beyond?!? Please! I'm glad Tebow stands for something and I'm happy that it makes him a better person. There is nothing wrong with that. But let's show the same respect for the people who set the stage for this guy. All the duel threat QBs who didn't get their chance then and still don't get it now! For guys like Muhaamed Ali and John Carlos who got anything but praise for standing for something they believe in and STILL chose not to waiver! Just call it like it is people. Exceptions cannot be made for people jus because you happen to agree. A spade is a spade!


I was impressed with Tebow's performance, Sunday. Kudos to the entire Denver team on a great performance. Mr. Zirin makes a good point about Tebow's faith. What if a Muslim quarterback was in the same position as Tebow? Think of the hate filled rhetoric that would be spewing from talking heads. What if he were an atheist? The same thing would happen.

Oooh, the hypothetical Muslim QB, scaa-ry

At least we in the United States of America can contemplate a Muslim quarterback. As opposed to the 22 Muslim countries in which a Christian or Jewish QB, if they were even allowed to enter the country, would be driven out or assassinated before the first snap. But we mustn't criticize non-Western cultures, you know, they have their own way of doing things and must be respected.

I don't share Tebow's pro life views, but I admire him for the courage of his convictions, as opposed to you pansy Leftists/Atheists who cannot stand anyone stating publicly their belief in Judeo-Christian tradition. A tradition, by the way, that is the foundation of the United States, and has enabled America to be a free society (as opposed to those aforementioned 22 Muslim countries).

But yeah, let's "pray" (if morally relativist secularists can do that) for a Muslim QB. What a joke, with your b.s. hypotheses and unstated hope of sticking it to Whitey. You're insulting the deaths of 2,800 civilians in 9/11, a terrorist act that last I checked was not committed by Christian evangelists.

A Comment or Two

To Widdles' question of why SF Alex Smith is still playing QB it's simple it's because SF has a winning record with him(perhaps in spite of him). I'll stipulate that in the past black college/NFL players were not given the same opportunities as white ones. But as of right now I don't see an NFL coach(black or white) playing a white QB soley because he's white.

Hue Jackson former Raider coach was fired unfairly by Reggie McKenzie. Even though McKenzie is black did race enter intho the firing? I would hope not.

I believe now sports in American is less descriminating than what it was years ago. Now if we can only get more Muslim/Black/Atheists hockey players, I'll pray for that to happen.

Not Carrying A Cross

Reggie White was an ordained minister, but he didn't drag it onto the field (though he had the coolest nickname ever). His game spoke for itself and that's why he's in the Hall of Fame.

Dave Zirin may have overreached a little with Tim Tebow, but I chalk it up to justified annoyance in which he isn't alone. How would we discuss the Broncos QB if he hadn't ever made his religion an issue? I prefer sports without that sort of sideshow. Life, too, for that matter.


DZ, I don't believe you have lost the debate on Tim Tebow’s skill as a quarterback. Your rightness has simply been delayed another week, and I suspect his casino run will be over next year and will find a bench to warm. He did have one great game, so he gets credit for that.

Otherwise, the fight on Tebow's politics continues

Jesse Ventura was a pro-wrestler.

Don't assume that politics isn't, or couldn't be, in Tebow's future. I submit, that anyone of the Republican nominees-- even Huntsman-- could lock up the nomination overnight if they convinced Tebow to quit football and run as presidential vp candidate.
Imagine the press conference Tebow would hold describing how Jesus came to him and told him to give up football and help save America by entering politics.
Before you laugh this off just go visit the Creation Museum in Kentucky.


Sure Alex Smith has a winning record right now. I am talking about the previous 6 seasons in which he did jack shit! There has been no black QB drafted that high to ever be given that kind of opportunity after performing so poorly! And its not just Alex who gets that kind of treatment. It's Matt Leinhart, David Carr, Josh McCown, John Beck and countless others. We don't get the opportunity to continue to learn and get better like that. We are either extraordinary like Vick, McNabb, Moon, Newton etc.., have to change positions like Brad Smith, Kordell Stewart at first, Joe Webb etc.. or we are at Geico selling insurance! Of course it's not as bad as before, but its still not even. And until it is, i am going to call it like it is. We should not have to switch positions while you guys get to learn and grow until you're ready. Thas bullshit. As for dude that was speaking about Muslim QBs and 9/11... Actually, the US was founded on Murder, lies and deceit. The freedom that non whites enjoy here is because African and the ORIGINAL Americans fought to the end to stop them from keeping them enslaved to their ignorance. The "Four Fathers" of this place ALL OWNED SLAVES and at NO POINT wanted to see that end! They stated it themselves and if you don't believe me just Google their opinions on it. And yeah, 9/11 was a terrible act probably done by people who weren't born here. But why don't we show the same remorse for the thousands of innocent people our government has killed over there and also right here at home???? Are we so ignorant to think that our government is in other places solving problems that they have yet to solve here??? I too love that Tebow stands for something that makes him a better person, i stated that earlier. But Christianity IS NOT the only system that does that and it certainly isn't the first! All Muslims aren't suicide bombers just like all Christians damn sure aren't the standard for spirituality. There are good and bad representatives for every spiritual systems. One more little point to my man who seems to be so patriotic... The biggest "Terrorist" attacks U.S. History were from good old fashioned home grown AMERICANS. I'm sure we all remember the Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine and not to mention EVERY U.S. PRESIDENT WHO WAS EVER ASSASSINATED! Like I said before, a spade is a spade and the U.S. needs to stop pointing the finger at other countries and do what the late great Michael Jackson said... Talk to the man in the mirror!

To Widdles

What are you talking about? Akili Smith got 4 years in the league. JaMarcus Russell got 2 years as a starter. Kordell Stewart started several seasons with the Steelers before being God Awful with the Bears. Andre Ware played several seasons with the Lions backing up Rodney Peete.

Charlie Batch is still in the league. Joe Webb is terrible but still on Minnesota's roster in hopes he can be a backup. Same with Joe Webb in NY. Tavarious Jackson was horrible in Minnesota but he's been given a second shot in Seattle. Culpepper was chosen over Brees in Miami. How'd that work out? I'm willing to bet Josh Freeman is the starter next year despite a bad sophomore season.

Maybe you don't watch enough NFC Central games to see some of the terrible black quarterbacks that have played. I'm sure there are still racists out there that don't want to see a black QB succeed but those people are far and few in today's NFL. You can be a felon or "alleged" rapist and play in today's NFL. Green is the real color that they care about.


Davey Z. I loved the article. On the move for telling the truth about sports and politics. RACE, CLASS AND POLITICS????

sports in American is less descriminating than what it was years ago?

"I believe now sports in American is less descriminating than what it was years ago"


I think maybe on the playing field and ever so slightly in coaching... in the major power sports. Anyone see black swimmers? How could some Muslim women even attempt swimming? Why are youth sports dominated by middle and upper class whites, rather than "opportunity for all?" What percentage of positions do black/minority/women have as owners, general managers, executives in major power sports? Why do men dominate as coaches in women's sports?

I hope we all never forget that sports are as discriminating as ever. We cannot overlook racism still present in American sports, but sports discriminate on class, gender, religion, size, age, and many other characteristics. Sports can be incredibly empowering... AND... incredible limiting. We need to level the "field" beyond "the playing field".

most if this posts statements about Tebow...

Were made up by the author. Care to give me a Tebow quote where he took a political position? You mention politicians you personally don't like who are Tebow fans, SO WHAT? If Michelle Bachman hates him will that make you like him? He mentions Jesus in his post game interviews, he's a good person, and he did a Super Bowl ad where he said he loved his mother and she said she loved him (in spite of all the genuinely insane rhetoric before it aired from the left that's all it actually was). If this causes you to have this level of hatred for the man, some one has a problem but it isn't Tebow....

Yes, Really

I suspect the vast majority on certain African teams are black. To address your "opportunity for all" statement in sports(today) winning is going to trump and discriminate against everybody getting an equal chance. No black/whte coach for the most part is going to play an athlete of lesser ability just to balance the racial/religious/ethnic of the team.

To really achieve a level playing field you have to take the concept of winning/losing off the table. So a suggestion I would make for you,SportPsych23, is the next time you attend a sporting event do not,I repeat, do not look at the scoreboard. Just feast your eyes on the composition of the respective teams and see if they meet your standard of "opportunity for all". The one that does is your winner.

PS. Hockey is still going to be a problem.

What a hateful idiot

After all the hatred you spew at Tebow, you have the gall to call his politics hateful? You wrote "I consider it repellent when politicians crush the hard-won freedoms of others in the name of their version of Jesus Christ." Name one instance where Tebow would have anything to do with this idiotic statement or has tried to crush people who don't share his views. You are a sad, sad, little man. And by the way, call it abortion you coward. Don't hide behind the gutless women's reproductive rights garbage.

What a hateful idiot

After all the hatred you spew at Tebow, you have the gall to call his politics hateful? You wrote "I consider it repellent when politicians crush the hard-won freedoms of others in the name of their version of Jesus Christ." Name one instance where Tebow would have anything to do with this idiotic statement or has tried to crush people who don't share his views. You are a sad, sad, little man. And by the way, call it abortion you coward. Don't hide behind the gutless women's reproductive rights garbage.

Think my point was missed!

I meant my post to reflect sports "beyond the playing field". I agree with you that coaches play the best players to win and by looking at the playing field in power sports we see less discrimination. But rather, I ask that we not forget how the elite players get there. The process of getting into, staying in, and ultimately advancing in sport is where race, class, religion, etc... block a majority of potential participants. It's not only that the good players get to play because of a culture of winning. Resources are a key. Example, I recently observed the UCLA swim team getting off a bus before a meet... ALL white! I'd argue that across the US and at the Olympics the pool would look very white! If we attribute this to "winning", we are saying whites are better swimmers than others (they got there by winning). I'm not buying that. The sport of swimming discriminates who gets to participate and the images and history of swimming influence who we think are "good" swimmers (racism). My post was to implore people to first, at the lowest level of sports, make them accessible and "equal". Beyond the field (particularly the power sports), "sports" in general are still incredibly white-male dominated.

Don't Sweat It, Dave...

I share your feelings for all things Tebow, and can't wait for the Patriots to put us all out of our misery once and for all and allow real football fans to get back to the serious business of cheering on the Green Bay Packers - a team, by the way, which actually has a praiseworthy quarterback. Hallelujah!

Reggie White

First of all, Mr. Zirin, I don't recall Tim Tebow taking political positions. But I have a question for you. Did you feel the same way when Reggie White was openly religious? Or is it maybe that you only hate white Christians? You, sir, are an intolerant bigot fo the highest order.

Continuing on SportPsych23's point

If you(SportsPsych23) are not buying that white swimmers are better than others,how would you account forthe Kenyans domination of the marathon? In the world ranking of male marathoners,I believe, the top 25-30 are all Kenyans(and I assume all black).

It's a slippery slope to base racial.ethnic,or religious discrimination solely on numbers without looking at other factors. International sports bring this into focus more so.

Good players play mainly because they're good players. How they got there is certainly influenced by class,but I don't think it's so rigid as you seem to imply.

Since you didn't address my hockey observation,I will. Hockey being an international sports gets most of its players from cold-weather countries. These players are predominantly white. In the USA hockey is certainly not a poor man's sport. So class does play a role. But I would defer to Sir Charles Barkley paraphrasing: The Brothers just don't skate."

Not tonight

Looks like Jesus was busy tonight. Finally an end to the Tebow nonsense.

Focus on Family

Well, it looked like a national ad buy..Focus on the Family paid for a TV spot during the Tebow Bolw (er, I mean Broncos vs Patriots), using cute little kids reading John 2:13....wow...I was a bit taken aback by that. (I guess that there was anti abortion ad in last years Super Bowl I should not really be surprised)...Focus on Family talks of all this love, but not if you are gay, etc...well, at least we won't have to worry about Tim Tebow the rest of the season...

Reggie White

Reggie White was indeed religious, and made anti gay comments...his skin color did not matter, it was his intolerance towards another group of people for being a certain way that was appalling...

Good Riddance TeBum

I am so tired of hearing how the guy with by far the lowest passing attempts and completion percentage among quarterbacks in the league has "proven the doubters wrong". Even Dan Marino claims to be a "believer". I mean, come on man, those of us old enough to remember have seen enough of Dan Marino in his prime to know that Tebow is no Marino. What we saw in New England today is what happens when a great gun slinger in the pocket goes up against an over-hyped bum. Unfortunately for the Broncos, both of Brady's legs were completely healthy.

This day might end up being remembered as the one where Alex Smith's once dead career was permanently revived and Tebow's as a starting QB finally ended.

@DarrelB Google the names

Dave Zirin and Reggie White together, and you'll be (dare I say it?) enlightened.

Here's one to start:

Kenyan domination

Is your point that biology is the key to explaining black/white difference in sport? As for hockey... do only white people live in the cold-weather and therefore play hockey? How would I base discrimination on numbers when my whole argument is that the discrimination in sport is a result of culture... not who is actually better or worse. The process of "becoming" better or worse is discriminatory and based on cultural values and beliefs.

I would argue that there is a better explanation of why Kenyans dominate the marathon and whites play hockey. Many people do actually believe that the Kenyans are biologically advantaged, however research does not support this notion. See, my comments on this site so far (which I just discovered via, "Not Just a Game) come from research, not emotions/observations.
So, Kenyans grow up idolizing the record marathoners and believing that marathon is a way to earn significant money. Nike (and others) also actively seek out the best runners with possible endorsement money. If you had no real way to earn a living except distance running... how hard would you work at it? Why don't the Kenyan women hold a comparative amount of records?.... opportunity, not genetics.

A similar process leads black athletes in the US into certain sports (e.g., basketball!). This research holds for hockey. White people play and excel because it is seen as a white sport. If we gave black athletes the same equipment and training from a young age some would excel and some would not, just as some whites excel and some don't. The NBA would be more white if society and culture didn't shape basketball as a black sport. Black athletes are actively sought out to play basketball and this does not go unnoticed by white athletes who can turn to other sports because of opportunity.

The biology argument is basically racist. Elite level athletes do have different biology than non-elite, but black elite athletes do not differ biologically than white elites. Elite level sport does not occur cross-sectionally. The process is longitudinal. You cannot look at a playing field and say that hard-work alone, or biology explains the athletes present. Also, sport goes beyond the field... what about my point that almost every position of authority in sport in held by a white male? I'm not just fixated on the field or at one point in time.

Sir Charles

"Brothers JUST DON'T skate" is not the same thing as "Brothers CAN'T skate".

Tebow Time

It will be interesting if we are still talking about Tebow in 2014. His skill are limited right now. His team does rally behind him. Your can't deny his record this year as a starting quarterback, even though looked horrible at time. Same arguements were made about Vince Young, so Tebow may be headed in that direction. At least Denver gave him a shot, and ended up with a playoff birth. They were headed no where with their other starting quarterback. I don't necessarily agree with his politics, but what makes this country great is its ok to disagree, but still enjoy the game.

42 Reader Comments | Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: This forum is for dialog between Edge of Sports readers. Discuss!

Submit your comment below:

Your Name


(Only if we need to contact you—not for advertising purposes)



Dave Zirin is the author of the book: "Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics and Promise of Sports" (Haymarket). You can receive his column Edge of Sports, every week by going to dave@edgeofsports.com.
Become an Edge of Sports Sustainer (Click Here)

Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com