The Difference Between Tim Tebow and Jason Collins


Hemant Mehta absolutely nails it when discussing a cartoon that appeared in the Chicago Tribune after NBA player Jason Collins became the first American male athlete in a major sport to come out publicly as gay. The cartoon tried to compare Collins to Tim Tebow:

chi-stantis-jason-collins-20130430

Hemant’s response is spot on:

Collins did something no male in the NBA (or several other popular leagues) had done: He came out as gay while still playing professionally.

Believe it or not, there’s no shortage of Christians in any sporting league. Need evidence? Just listen to someone on the winning team during a post-game interview.

When Tebow told the world he was Christian — more Christian than other Christians, really, with his eye black messages and on-field prayers — it was annoying. It doesn’t take “courage” to proudly proclaim, “I’m in the majority!”

Not to mention, Tebow chose his religion; Collins didn’t choose his sexuality. Tebow wanted you to become a Christian; Collins isn’t trying to (in fact, can’t) make you gay.

He also points out that it’s Tebow’s brand of fundamentalist Christianity that makes Collins coming out so necessary and important and that keeps so many gay people in the closet out of fear and self-loathing.

Comments

  1. says

    It was also pointed out that after every game, we’re not going to hear Collins say, “If it weren’t for the fact that I am sexually interested in men, this victory today would not be possible,” like Tebow and countless other athletes do with God.

  2. says

    I don’t follow sports but even I remember the absolutely constant coverage of Tebow and his religious belief, not long ago.

  3. gshelley says

    I’ve been seeing this other places
    We can’t be sure, but if Collins starts saying how his success was due to all the cock he got last night, , and getting on his knees and simulating oral sex after scoring a basket, I doubt people would give him a pass on that.
    Seriously, no one cares that Tebow is a Christian, just like they don’t care that most professional sportspeople are, but Tebow made it the centre of his identity as an athlete. So far, Collins has not done that, and he really isn’t particularly likely to.

  4. Jordan Genso says

    Not to mention, Tebow chose his religion

    Personally, I don’t view religion as all that much of a choice. I know that I couldn’t choose to become Christian, or Hindu, or a believer in Greek Mythology.

    Faith and sexuality are clearly different things, but I do find some similarities between them in regards to them being or not being a choice. For instance, I could choose to act Christian (attend Church, preach the Gospel, etc), but deep down, I think I would have to know that I’m lying to myself. Likewise, there’s many gay individuals who act straight, but deep down I assume they know they’re lying to themselves.

    I’m aware there are many ways in which the analogy doesn’t work (especially since changing faiths and losing faith are completely different acts, and the idea of changing sexuality is more similar to the former), but I don’t think dismissing religion as pure choice is appropriate. I wonder if the writer (Hemant) ever considered if they chose their religion and could just as easily choose a different one?

  5. unbound says

    I agree with MissMarnie; I stopped watching football (except for the Superbowl) a very long time ago, but even I was seeing a ton of coverage about Tebow and his praying on the field. Heck, where does Hemant think the term “tebowing” came from? The media loved that nonsense for a good while…nobody in the media was telling him to shut up.

  6. raven says

    There was very little media coverage of just who Tebow and his missionary family was trying to convert.

    Catholics. Fake xians the lot of them.

    They were in the Phillipines, which has been xian for centuries and is mostly…Catholic.

  7. says

    I find the God bothering in the fight sports even more amusing. Jack Boxer knocks out some poor schmuck, and then thanks God for letting him win the fight. Yeah, God decided the other guy should take one on the button instead of you.

    FYI boxer Orlando Cruz came out last year.

  8. says

    If Collins danced to “It’s Raining Men” after every time he scored a basket, the cartoon might have a valid point.

  9. says

    And lets not forget all the press straight athletes get because of their sexuality. How many people know who NBAer Tony Parker is only because he was married to Eva Longoria? Me, for one, since I don’t follow the NBA. Alex Rodriquez got media attention because he dated Madonna.

  10. slc1 says

    It should also be pointed out that Collins, whose talents are limited, has been in the NBA for 12 years. It i doubtful that Tebow, whose talents are equally limited, will last anywhere near that long in the NFL.

    By the way, Collins is a graduate of Harvard Westlake high school in Los Angeles, a rather exclusive school with high academic standards and is also a graduate of Stanford, Un., a university with high academic standards, comparable to the Ivy league schools.

  11. scienceavenger says

    Not to mention, Tebow chose his religion; Collins didn’t choose his sexuality.

    Let’s not oversell this point. Odds are Tebow’s religion is very similar to his parents’, as are most people’s. Our upbringing and culture choose our religion for us in many ways.

  12. says

    I put the below blurb on the Shitfly thread, so glad that it has belongingness.

    “Sorry for what might be a threadjack (sure I am!) but this is too good to pass up:

    http://nesn.com/2013/05/tim-tebow-fans-make-plea-asking-president-obama-to-demand-jaguars-sign-former-jets-quarterback/

    That’s gonna cause some serious head’splodin’ in the fundie ranks. Petitioning the ANTI-KKKRIST? Cats and dogs cohabiting can’t be far off!!”

    Jordan Genso:

    Two areas of disagreement.

    You may not choose your religion as a baby, but you can certainly exercise your desire to stop being religious or a believer when you get to a certain age (in most societies).

    While the choice to stop being religious or a believer may not be easy, it is possible. Stopping being gay is not, afaia.

  13. slc1 says

    Re timgueguen @ #12

    One of the reasons that Tony Parker labors in comparative obscurity is because he plays in a small city franchise, namely San Antonio. If he played for the LA Lakers, he would be far more widely known as LA is the premier franchise in the NBA. Similarly, I would have to take issue with the claim about Alex Rodriguez who plays in a more widely followed sport, namely major league baseball, then does Parker and plays for the premier team in that sport, the New York Yankees.

  14. slc1 says

    Re democommie @ #16

    Look at the comments to the article about Jacksonville signing Tebow. The fans in Jacksonville seem to be quite divided over the issue.

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    tommykey #11: If Collins danced to “It’s Raining Men” after every time he scored a basket, the cartoon might have a valid point.

    And who could forget the rainbow “eye-black” he wears all the time.

  16. Jordan Genso says

    @16 democommie

    While the choice to stop being religious or a believer may not be easy, it is possible.

    I agree. That’s why I think the analogy works better with the idea of finding faith in a different religion (as I mentioned, albeit cryptically, in #5) rather than leaving religion completely. I doubt most people would find it possible for them to gain faith in a new religion. If they did, then their faith in their current religion would be incredibly weak. To believe whole-heartedly in the Bible, only to decide instead that you’re going to believe whole-heartedly in the Vedas, is not possible for most people. Whereas to believe whole-heartedly in the Bible, only to decide that you no longer believe the Bible, is clearly possible (which is why it’s not a great analogy).

    You may not choose your religion as a baby, but you can certainly exercise your desire to stop being religious or a believer when you get to a certain age (in most societies).

    I agree with that as well. What my point was trying to reference though is the idea of ‘faith’, and if you have it, how easily can you change (but not get rid of) it? And that’s where I think there’s some similarity with sexuality.

  17. otrame says

    @sc1

    San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the county. It is not small. It is bigger than Dallas. It may not seem to be so big because it has a smaller town vibe, because it spread out as it grew since there were no other large towns nearby. It is true that LA is a little more than twice as big and has won the NBA championship 4 times in this century, but the Spurs have won that championship 3 times in this century.

    Not all that small a town. Great basketball team. And trust me, people who follow professional basketball know who Tony Parker is.

  18. steve oberski says

    Not to mention, Tebow chose his religion; Collins didn’t choose his sexuality.

    Not to mention, this is not a good analogy.

    What if it turns out (I don’t think this is likely, just a talking point) that future studies show that sexuality is largely a personal choice ?

    Does that mean that homosexuals no longer warrant equal treatment under the law ?

    I don’t care if Collins sexuality is innate or if he made a conscious decision to be homosexual, any judgement I would make about his choice would be based on whether or not he engages in consensual relationships with other consenting adults free of coercion.

    And does he use a personal lifestyle choice (whether or not it’s an innate trait it is still certainly a matter of choice to publicly present as homosexual) to deny basic rights to other human beings ?

  19. says

    @20:

    Thanks for the clarification, Jordan Genso.

    @22:

    Steve Oberski, I agree that homosexuality might be found, upon further research, to be a matter of choice (something I sincerely doubt will happen). Otoh, whether choosing to be gay or not, being an out gay, unlike being a Christian is likely to result in some level of harassment from those opposed to reality.

  20. Sastra says

    Jordan Genso #20 wrote:

    What my point was trying to reference though is the idea of ‘faith’, and if you have it, how easily can you change (but not get rid of) it? And that’s where I think there’s some similarity with sexuality.

    In addition to steve oberski’s excellent point at #22 — being gay is okay not because it’s not a ‘choice,’ but because it causes no harm — people don’t come down with faith the way they come down with a cold. At some point religious believers conclude that it’s reasonable to believe in the fact of God (or Jesus or Spirit) as a moral issue, using special criteria. Tim Tebow’s Christianity is a rational choice in the same way a political or scientific position is a rational choice — and this is what Tebow firmly believes. He doesn’t think he believes in Jesus because he was indoctrinated or because he’s expressing his identity; he is convinced that he’s thought it through and Christianity just makes sense.

    It’s hard to change your mind about religion because faith is an ideal immunizing strategy. Doubts — your own or those of others — are interpreted as signs of moral weakness.

  21. slc1 says

    Re otrame @ #21

    Point taken. However, clearly San Antonio is not the media center that Tinseltown and the Big Apple are. Clearly, stuff happening in LA or New York receives much more national media attention then stuff happening in San Antonio. I agree that Parker is well known to NBA aficionados. But Kobe Bryant is better known to non-aficionados and casual fans.

  22. regexp says

    What if it turns out (I don’t think this is likely, just a talking point) that future studies show that sexuality is largely a personal choice ?

    As someone who is gay – I find this statement rather ludicrous. And while my parents chose the Catholic religion for me – I chose to leave it. It wasn’t nearly as hard as coming to terms with being gay.

  23. Ichthyic says

    Let’s not oversell this point. Odds are Tebow’s religion is very similar to his parents’, as are most people’s. Our upbringing and culture choose our religion for us in many ways.

    NO, stop this shit RIGHT NOW.

    they are not the same at all.

    As even you point out: CULTURE defines religious choices. Not so much sexual preference.

    you guys are absolutely wrong in trying to equate the two, and I seriously suggest rethinking your position on this, as it actually does DAMAGE to educating people properly about what sexual preference really is.

  24. Ichthyic says

    What if it turns out (I don’t think this is likely, just a talking point) that future studies show that sexuality is largely a personal choice ?

    only a truly ignorant person could even toss that out as a hypothetical.

  25. tfkreference says

    Perhaps we need a Miranda warning for the First Amendment:

    You have the right to believe in any religion. If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

    (Of course, the royalties to Mr. Peart would be outrageous.)

  26. imthegenieicandoanything says

    There’s also the more important fact that Tebow is such an insufferable asshole that someone like me, who avoids football completely, is fully aware of exactly the type and size (“gargantuan”) asshole he is. If he wasn’t a Xian asshole, everyone would hate him, and ignore him as well (He ain’t the ARod of the NFL, plainly, and is much more obnoxiously PUBLIC an asshole than ARod ever was).

    This stupid cartoon, with its play-to-the-morAn attack on the media’s own hypocrisy (there are only a million better examples) is more absolutely unneeded proof that when anyone in the media is “being religious” they are certain to also be tiresome and dishonest hacks.

    The cartoonist is a fecking idjit.

  27. DaveL says

    Is this supposed to be a joke? Tim Tebow got a hell of a lot of publicity and attention, and it sure as hell wasn’t because he was an outstanding QB, at least not by NFL standards.

  28. kermit. says

    Jordan Genso is right about religion. I am an atheist, and I couldn’t just decide to believe in the existence of gods, anymore than I could decide to believe that Obama is a socialist. Obviously religious belief is still mutable, while sexuality is not. I was raised Southern Baptist, but I read books, observed reality and human behavior, and finally decided that there was no god. But I didn’t decide to not believe; I decided that I didn’t believe. I discovered my atheism; I didn’t choose it.
    ..
    Tebow, however, could decide not to act like a self-righteous, pretentious ass.
    .
    I don’t follow sports, but from what I’ve seen in the news Collins seems to be a class act. Courageous at a time when it is truly useful (for others struggling with coming out), and quietly competent as an athlete.

  29. Loqi says

    Right. All that Tebowmania hype was because he was a good player. Please. Jason Collins has made it 14 years in a professional sport. Tim Tebow got verbally fellated on sports news more times than any player I can remember, yet may be out of pro sports already.

  30. steve oberski says

    only a truly ignorant person could even toss that out as a hypothetical.

    Only someone who is a complete failure at reading comprehension could toss that out.

  31. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’m British. I couldn’t even have recalled what sport Tebow plays, but I certainly remembered that he’s a Christian.

  32. slc1 says

    Part of the reason why Tebow attracts so much attention is that he plays quarterback, the glamor position in football. If he played offensive lineman, he would attract very little attention relatively speaking.

  33. steve oberski says

    @Ichthyic

    Unlike you, I don’t think that people should receive different treatment under the law based on innate or culturally derived traits, be it sexual/gender orientation, religion, sex etc.

    I am concerned only with how they project these traits in the public sphere and it is none of my business beyond that what their personal preferences are.

    Something that you might consider giving a try.

  34. says

    I don’t understand the need to bash on Tebow in this situation. Jason Collins admitted to being gay, and i am glad he was able to feel comfortable enough to do so. I am happy for him. What in the hell does Tim Tebow have to do with jason collins? Yeah, Tim Tebow is religious, and he Tebows after scoring or before games. That’s about it. The only reason his religion is a big deal is because the media has blown it out of proportion.

  35. says

    Y’know what I want. I want a front rank NFL QB, in his the prime to come out. Even better, somebody like Andrew Luck or another of his class who graduated around the same time as T-boned.

    @39:

    “The only reason his religion is a big deal is because the media has blown it out of proportion.”

    Yeah, because nobody from FotF, Operation Rescue, the AFA or any of several other stridently homophobic/anti-choice organizations ever fucking mentioned it. Nor did they use his high profile as a QB at a major NCAA (but who knows for how much longer) football program to push their anit-choice agenda. I don’t even HAVE a television, never mind premium cable and I heard about Tebow’s fealty to JESUS on a many times daily basis.

    Speaking of people who DID get pilloried for speaking their mind about a sensitive subject, howzabout Bob Costas’ on gun control after the murder suicide of an NFL player in Kansas City. Now that there was a serious incident; ‘cuz everbody knows that JESUS is only important when you’re out in public, but gunz, gunz are allus important.

  36. slc1 says

    Re democommie @ #40

    Back during his playing days, there were numerous rumors about Dallas Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman being into a little AC/DC action. Never substantiated.

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