Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Jones: The unfortunate truth about Tim Tebow haters

Over the next week, thousands of people in Tampa Bay will celebrate Tim Tebow being in town to play minor-league baseball.

They will pack the stands in Tampa and Clearwater just to get a glimpse of one of the most famous athletes to ever live. They will cheer him for every little thing he does on the field because they love every little thing he does — and stands for.

But there will be thousands who cannot wait for Tebow to leave town. They're already sick of him. They don't want to hear about him. They don't want to talk about him. They don't want to read about him.

They hate him.

Surely you know someone who hates Tebow. You might be that someone.

"He's a very polarizing figure,'' says Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen, who coached Tebow at Florida. "There are haters in the world. I would say there are more Tim haters than doubters.''

The question is: why? Why do so many people hate Tim Tebow?

He is passionate about every aspect of his life, yet isn't arrogant. He's dedicated. Loyal. He's respectful of others, even those who don't respect him.

He's a leader. He's polite. He's humble even though he's better than most people at everything he has ever attempted.

Those who truly know him have nothing but praise for him. You never hear a bad thing about him from someone who has ever spent significant time around him.

He serves his fellow man, and most of that is done away from cameras and publicity.

He is one of the nicest, kindest, compassionate people on the planet.

Yet, he is hated by more than a few.

VIDEO: Tebow leaves circle to greet autistic boy, then hits a home run

"There are more haters, who say if he doesn't do everything he says, he's not perfect,'' Mullen said. "Here's a young man with very strong values. I think a lot of people are jealous of that because they don't have as strong (a set of) values as he does. So, they try to find fault in him to make themselves look better.''

There it is. It's about God. That's the real reason.

It's not that he's a Gator. Or that he wanted to be an NFL quarterback. Or that he wants to play baseball. Or that he's disingenuous, because he's not.

It's his faith in God.

"People attack,'' Mullen said. "They attack his religion.''

Tebow isn't shy about sharing his beliefs or crediting God for his life. But it's not as if he is forcing people to listen to him. If you don't want to see it, turn off the TV, turn the page, move on to something else.

Yet, the haters say things like, "Why does he have to shove his religion in my face?"

"I respect his faith,'' Mullen said. "It was who he was on a daily basis. It doesn't mean you have to have the exact same faith, but you can sure respect someone who has those strong beliefs. That's a positive way to live your life. Whether you try to do that in religion, or in college football, or the classroom, or in a TV career, or in missionary life — or in trying to play pro baseball — that's a very hard thing to do."

Still, the haters can't wait to see him fail. They rejoice that he can't find an NFL job. They smile whenever they read about him striking out or making an error. Not only don't they want to see him do well, they want to seem him flounder and flop in embarrassing fashion.

It's not good enough that Tebow can't start in the NFL, the haters want to see him out of the league completely. Now those same people are upset that he's playing in a baseball league they don't even follow.

To despise someone like that just isn't normal.

FENNELLY : The difference between Tebow and 'Timmy'

Tebow isn't a criminal. He never did any harm to anyone. Yet the hate runs deep.

Maybe, just maybe, the target of their hate isn't Tebow, but something far more unsettling.

"Tim makes you look at yourself,'' Ohio State and former Gators coach Urban Meyer said. "And sometimes you don't exactly like what you see. I fell into that. I never met someone quite like that, someone who, from A to Z, what he's living is real.

"He makes you self-evaluate. Sometimes I look at his critics and, while I don't feel sorry for them, I wonder what's the issue here?''

Tebow believes in God. He believes in service. He believes in trying to impact people in a positive way, to make their lives better. He believes in doing whatever it takes, including playing baseball, to the best of his ability to reach people and share his story and make a difference in the world.

What's wrong with that, exactly?

Maybe if people spent the energy it takes to hate Tebow on living their lives more like Tebow, the world would be a much better place.

Contact Tom Jones at [email protected] Follow @tomwjones

   
Comments
Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

Why free agency hasnít turned out fun (yet) for ex-Rays pitcher Alex Cobb

RHP Alex Cobb never expected to be going into late January without knowing where he was going for spring training.The longtime Ray's first foray into free agency hasn't gone as planned, much like the 150-plus others waiting for something to give in a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson lends a hand to help families dealing with cancer

Rays infielder Daniel Robertson has much to be excited about heading into his second season in the majors.But before packing for spring training, he took some time last weekend to provide help for families needing assistance in dealing with cancer.Hi...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Ex-Rays star Longoria dons Giants jersey, looks forward to full-stadium environment in San Francisco

Longtime Rays star Evan Longoria was formally introduced in San Francisco today, adding the visual of him pulling on his new Giants jersey, switching to No. 10 since 3 is retired.Longoria said he welcomed the chance to play on a contending team stock...
Published: 01/19/18
What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

What do Rays look like now? What will they look like March 29?

ST. PETERSBURG — Since entering an off-season planning major change and pledging to be open to "anything and everything,'' the Rays have made a few minor moves and one massive one in trading franchise cornerstone Evan Longoria to San Francisco....
Published: 01/19/18
Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

Reminder: Rays spring tickets go on sale today at 10 a.m.

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale today at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at the...
Published: 01/19/18
Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Tampa Bay Rays 2018 spring training schedule

Charlotte Sports Park, 2300 El Jobean Rd., Port Charlotte, 33948Get tickets here: (941) 206-4487Pitchers report: Feb. 13. Squad reports: Feb. 19TEAM SCHEDULE(games at 1:05 unless noted)(ss - split squad)Feb 23 at Orioles (ss) (Sarasota)Feb 23 PIRATE...
Published: 01/19/18
Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Ex-Phillies, Indians manager Charlie Manuel to get Ted Williams Museum award

Former Phillies and Indians manager Charlie Manuel will receive the Ted Williams Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 10 in Clearwater.The honor is bestowed by the Ted Williams Museum at its annual Hitters Hall of Fame induction, moving this year from ...
Published: 01/19/18
Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Former Rays OF Matt Joyce to hold annual charity baseball camp at North Brandon complex

Armwood High product Matt Joyce, the current A's and former Rays outfielder, hosts his ninth annual Sweet Swingin' charity baseball camp for kids 6-12 on Sunday at the North Brandon youth baseball complex (2929 S Kingsway Rd, Seffner).Registration st...
Published: 01/18/18
Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

Rays spring tickets go on sale Friday

The Rays will put single game tickets for spring training home games on sale Friday at 10 a.m. via raysbaseball.com.The Rays are playing 14 home games in Port Charlotte, starting with the Feb. 23 opener vs. Pittsburgh. Tickets will be available at th...
Published: 01/17/18
A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

A look at Rays 40-man roster with spring training starting in less than a month

With the start of spring training now less than a month away, here is what the Rays roster looks like, with the most glaring hole at first base, which at this point seems likely to be manned by Brad Miller, and some questions about the pitching staff...
Published: 01/17/18