Although he later made it clear he was joking, CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel said Sunday, "If [Tim] Tebow had more class he’d just kill dogs or get drunk and run over somebody and maybe end their life."
Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources, Doyel also said of the Denver Broncos quarterback, "He's got a lot of nerve talking about some higher power in his life" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: But Greg, why should there be any media smackdown at all? Why can’t an athlete who gains prominence because he's good at throwing the pigskin not be able to talk openly about his faith?
GREGG DOYEL, CBS SPORTS: I don't know. If Tebow had more class he’d just kill dogs or get drunk and run over somebody and maybe end their life. You know, he's got a lot of nerve talking about some higher power in his life. Whether we agree with it or not, people tend to be scared of or at least don't like things they don't understand. And we don’t understand Tebow. I'm right there with them. People like me look at Tom Brady going from supermodel to supermodel and say, “I want to live like that.” We don't look at Tebow and say, “I want to live like that.” And I don’t want to live like that. At the same time, I like watching what he’s doing.
KURTZ: Hold on. You say he’s got nerve doing this. It seems like, I don't want people to think that you're anti-religion. It seems like you're offended by the fact that he prays to G-d and does it in a very public manner on and off the field.
DOYEL: I’m sorry, I'm so sarcastic and dry, my humor's not any good. I was joking.
DAVE ZIRIN, THE NATION: He was joking.
DOYEL: That’s what I get for trying to be funny. I’m not.
KURTZ: I'm sparing you all the email.
For those unfamiliar, Doyel was referring to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's dog fighting problems and likely the Washington Redskins wide receiver Donte Stallworth who in 2009 killed a man in Miami while driving drunk.
That said, without knowing his work, Doyel was certainly being sarcastic even though the joke initially failed badly.
Nevertheless, his comment was quite compelling: Tebow is getting scorn heaped upon him by the media almost akin to what Vick and Stallworth received for criminal acts. Actually, it's quite possible more people in America have greater familiarity with Tebow than Stallworth.
This makes Doyel's point about people revering Patriot's quarterback Tom Brady for his sexual conquests more than Tebow for his faith an even stronger indictment of how the press cover athletes and their behavior.
Maybe if the values Tebow holds dear were less ridiculed by the media as a whole there'd be more people in sports and in the society as a whole that would emulate rather than revile them.