These days, former football star Tim Tebow is helping to sell out minor league ballparks as he continues to pursue his baseball career with the Single-A Columbia Fireflies. While his fans are eager to see him play, his critics still look to get a couple of jabs in now and then. The latter occurred over the weekend when the Fireflies visited the Charleston RiverDogs.
It’s no secret that Tebow is religious, and as USA Today noted, the home team used that fact and decided to mock him over his Christian faith.
Some of the RiverDogs’ antics included playing the “Hallelujah Chorus” each time the 29-year-old stepped to the plate and referring to all the other players on the Fireflies as “Not Tim Tebow.” The team’s mascot, Charlie, joined in too by taking a page out of the former Denver Broncos’ book and was seen Tebowing while sporting eye black with the Bible verse “John 3:16” written on it.
Many minor league teams do try to inject humor and family fun for all during games, but making fun of someone for their faith and going after Tebow personally as much as they did cause a social media firestorm and had many crying foul.
— Charleston RiverDogs (@ChasRiverDogs) June 16, 2017
I've caught the Tebow fever. pic.twitter.com/l0UeNOqHQw
— Charlie T. RiverDog (@charlieriverdog) June 17, 2017
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Newsday that he wasn’t exactly pleased with the joking at Tebow’s expense either.
“I guess my comment would be that it was all very minor league. We had some of that even before he arrived in the Sally League in spring training. I was a little surprised that halfway through the season that somebody decided to be cute and pursue that. But he’s bigger than that.”
On Tuesday, the RiverDogs general manager, Dave Echols, spoke to Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper and said that the team did not mean to offend anyone. He went on to say that nothing was meant as an attack on Tebow or his faith, but they were poking fun at the outfielder’s celebrity. He then issued a statement apologizing to those who were offended.
“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.”
Tebow has become one of the most polarizing figures in sports. Some people love and will always defend him while others will continue to take shots at him every chance they get. No one can really say that Tebow is a bad guy though. He doesn’t get in trouble and is someone kids can admire. Whether he has a long baseball career ahead of him remains to be seen, but one thing is certain; we can always use more good guys in professional sports.
[Featured Image by Sean Rayford, File/AP Photo]