Padanilam: Stop with the ‘Tebowmania’
Benjamin Padanilam | Wednesday, August 24, 2016
In our Welcome Weekend edition of The Observer on Friday, my colleague Marek Mazurek audaciously claimed “the real story of the summer is none other than Tim Tebow.”
Mazurek said he believed Tebow’s baseball foray was valuable not because of his merit as an athlete, but rather it is because “we get more Tebowmania.”
But that, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly the problem with Tebow’s MLB workout, which will reportedly draw scouts from 20 teams to Los Angeles.
It reveals perhaps the true character of the athlete whom we allow to consume our attention when his name is mentioned despite his decidedly subpar performance during his professional athletic career. For a long time, we’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid. But that Kool-Aid might just be poisoned with a lie.
Tim Tebow, the athlete, might not be as genuine or pure as people seem to think he is.
Of course, I don’t know Tebow personally. So maybe it’s unfair for me to say that about him, especially considering most everyone who does know him — whether they support his baseball escapade or not — seems to have no problem with what this says about him as a person.
But I guess that just means I’m the only one who thinks the one reason Tebow is doing any of this is because he wants the attention — even needs it — to satisfy his ego. The ego that we helped build for years by giving him all this attention that his performance on the field at the professional level was never deserving of, frankly.
The type of ego that convinces a person he can pick up a sport he hasn’t played in a decade and be one of the best at it by making an MLB roster.
But we ignore his ego. Just like we ignore the fact that Tebow, who supposedly kept persevering for another chance in the NFL because of his love for the game, gave up on that goal when it stopped earning him attention from the media, only to then pursue an endeavor that would. Just like we ignore the fact that the job he filled in between these two careers was one that put him in front of the camera with regularity: an analyst for the SEC Network on ESPN.
Now don’t get me wrong, Tebow is probably a great person off the field. But as a public figure and athlete, his image on the field has always seemed disingenuous and forced because of the attention that was thrust upon him. And when that level of attention was no longer there, it forced him to find another way to get it.
Because in reality, Tim Tebow is a 29-year old who hasn’t played baseball in a decade. No team would give him a contract that rightfully belongs to a younger player with potential and time to develop into an asset at the major league level because of his merit. Any offer he does get is likely nothing more than a move on the part of a franchise whose minor league team could use the extra attention and revenue he would generate.
We need to move on, people. Enough of the Tebowmania. It’s taken a good person and turned him into an attention seeker. And most of all, it’s taken attention away from athletes who are far more deserving. It makes baseball look like a sport you can just pick up after having been away for a while and be good at. Professional baseball players should be infuriated by the perception that Tim Tebow is creating for their sport. And, as a former athlete himself, Tebow should understand that.
He had his chance and his taste of fame. Now, he should do us all a favor and just let it go.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.