I agree. I think one of the reasons it gets such attention is that he is so outspoken about his faith. If all he did was kneel and otherwise didn’t talk about his beliefs they wouldn’t give it any coverage either.
Tebow plays Quarterback in the NFL. This is literally THE most scrutinized position in all of U.S. sports. Big deal.
Tebow had been controversial to begin with, with his pro-life anti-abortion commercial.
Tebow is VERY outspoken about his faith (see commercial, other things as well…)
Tebow, in addition to playing the most scrutinized position, is also one of the most scrutinized players in U.S. pro sports because of his style. That is, he plays a position where you are theoretically supposed to throw the ball well, and yet… he throws terribly. The strange tale of Tebow is compounded by the fact that he is unfit to play the position he’s playing and yet… is having tremendous success.
Not only that, but the myth of Tebow has grown because of the bizarre comeback wins he’s been involved in. I’m an NFL fan, trust me, that was one of the weirdest series of incidents in NFL history. He continually led comeback after comeback and did so in improbable ways (opposing RB goes out of bounds, when staying in bounds would end the game, opposing RB then fumbles in overtime, field goal kicker hits a 60+ yard field goal to win, etc.)
Athletes are rarely as outspoken about their faith.
There’s really no “most important” position in baseball
There are controversial players in baseball, but few (or perhaps none) fit any of the other criteria listed here
There are many faithful Protestant baseball players, past and present - and they too don’t get the coverage. One of my favorites was Fernando Tatis. He spent much of his money on rebuilding his hometown Church. In basektball, current starting N.Y. Knicks guards Landry Fields and Jeremy Lin allegedly read Bible passages together before each game. No coverage of that either (though I don’t know whether they are Catholic or Protestant, but as I said they do read the Bible frequently so you can probably guess that one!)
Bothers me that no one has pointed any of this out before I got to this thread.
Because America is a predominantly Protestant nation. Protestantism covers 51.3% of the American population.But every Christian president in American history (with an exception for Kennedy) was Protestant. In the most Christian states (states in the Bible belt for example) are all predominantly Protestant.
In all the places you just mentioned (Latin America, Italy, Ireland etc.) Catholicism has way more coverage because it’s the predominant religion in those places.
Up until the Finals, there was all kinds of suspense as to whether Denver would actually be in the Superbowl–that would have been rather miraculous considering that the team (including Tebow) wasn’t nearly as good as several other top contenders (e.g., Green Bay, Pittsburgh, NY Giants, Patriots, Detroit, etc.)
But now that the Superbowl is over and Denver didn’t make it to the Finals, I think the attention on Tebow will dissipate until next season. Then it will start up again.
If memory serves me right, about twenty years ago African-American football players began kneeling in prayer after they scored a touchdown. Television commentators would mention it, and TV cameras even began to zoom in as it was a novelty. This morphed to small prayer circles in the end zone, involving players of all ethnicities.
So, yes, the phenomenon is nothing new. I admit that I, too, found all of the publicity about Tebowing to be surprising. The advent of viral internet stories may be part of all the attention. I suspect that because Tebow is an Evangelical, who has taken part in Focus on the Family commercials at no cost, may be part of it. And he plays for Denver, which is close to Colorado Springs, an Evangelical center in the US. Folks in Colorado Springs are likely to be Denver Broncos supporters, so he is a hometown hero for them.