I was born a Denver Broncos fan. Seriously. There wasn’t very much choice in the matter.
On Sundays, my family didn’t go to church, we put on our Broncos gear and watched the game. Some of my most cherished memories involve meeting the players at training camp or screaming my head off at Mile High Stadium. Years later and 1,000 miles away, my passion and affinity for my team is alive and well (I almost succeeded in getting a blue and orange wedding … almost). So, like most other football fans, I was glued to the TV during this year’s NFL draft to meet the new Broncos. Little did I know that my team was going to make the biggest move of the draft by trading up to take Tim Tebow.
Yes, that Tim Tebow. The Tim Tebow who is arguably one of the best college football players ever and who seems like a good guy with a good heart.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that I am pretty sure that Tim Tebow doesn’t like me. In his defense, I actually don’t know for sure — to my knowledge he has never gone on the record in saying anything about gay people at all, but if someone were ever guilty by association it would be Tim Tebow. He made headlines a few months ago for appearing in a Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad. Yes, the same Focus on the Family that has demonized and attacked the LGBT community at every turn. And it isn’t just his association with Focus that has me worried; it seems like he is the hero of every organization that I abhor. Some have even painted him as the future savior of the social conservative movement in America — which is probably true. Tebow could run for Congress in virtually any district south of the Mason-Dixon line and win in a landslide.
I will try to retain hope that just because Tebow rolls with an anti-gay crew doesn’t mean that he believes my husband and I have committed hell-worthy trespasses, but even if he does have a problem with gay people — should it matter to me?
If I didn’t root for every homophobic professional athlete, I’m not sure I would be very fun to watch games with. In fact, I don’t think I would be very good real-life friends with most professional athletes. The greatest Bronco of all time, Mr. John Elway, has revealed himself as a proud conservative who even introduced President Bush at a speech in Denver. Should that change my view of his on-field heroics? How about one of my favorite basketball players, Allen Iverson? Among many other problems, he based an entire rap career around anti-gay epithets — am I losing my integrity by cheering for him? I hope not, because I don’t think that boycotting anti-gay players is the answer.
Instead, I think it is important to come out as a gay sports fan and let these players know that their gay fans are watching and their anti-gay behavior is harmful. Hopefully with time, we will be able to fill the sports world with more Scott Fujita’s and less Larry Johnson’s.
So, Mr. Tebow you are officially on notice that I am rooting for you to succeed as a Bronco, but I am also rooting for you to sever your ties with the anti-gay industry and embrace ALL of your fans.
Photo Credit: OPEN sports