Former NFL quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, well known for his devotion to his faith and willingness to share his beliefs, received serious props this week from a big name in one of the most secular sectors of American culture.
KISS frontman Gene Simmons took to social media to declare what a "shame" it is that Tebow's critics would stoop so low and mock the man for holding to his Christian convictions.
Tebow has made headlines over the last several days as reports have swirled that the all-star college quarterback who wasn't able to make a long-term career at the signal-calling post in the NFL would likely be making a return to the league this year — as a tight end. The move comes after a sub-par stint in professional baseball's minor leagues.
The former Florida Gator's likely return to the professional ranks as a Jacksonville Jaguar under the command of former Gators coach Urban Meyer — Tebow's college career mentor and current-day neighbor — has not been without controversy.
Tebow, whose Christian faith has been his most identifying characteristic, was often the butt of over the top mockery, anti-faith jokes, and censorship. For example:
- Liberal groups pressured CBS to cancel his pro-life Super Bowl ad.
- A minor league baseball team in Charleston, South Carolina, was forced to apologize after mocked Tebow's faith during a three-game series.
- HBO host John Oliver once joked that if he had a gun with two bullets he would shoot Tim Tebow before Osama bin Laden.
- Twitter censored his Bible message about relying on God during difficult times.
Football analyst and former NFL and college star Randy Cross felt the media's treatment of Tebow was so inappropriate that while working for CBS Sports he called out his fellow members of the press for "root[ing] against him because of what he stands for."
This week, as criticisms of Tebow began to make the rounds again, the rocker known as "The Demon" went on defense for America's best-known Christian athlete ... for standing up for his faith.
"I support @TimTebow," Simmons tweeted Tuesday evening. "He was widely criticized and made fun of, simply because he is a man of faith, who believed in his Christian values. Shame on the NFL and the rest of the world for stooping so low."
Criticism of Tebow's likely return to the NFL also featured those who wanted to know why he should get another shot in the NFL while no team would sign QB-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick. To these critics it was clear that race was the only plausible explanation.
But Tebow's former Gator teammate and retired NFL linebacker Brandon Spikes was having none of it. He took to Twitter to call out the haters and tell them to "stop pulling this race bulls**t!"
He urged fans to understand that Tebow would be good for the Jaguars — or any team, for that matter — tweeting, "Tim Tebow will be an inspiration in any locker room trust me i know."