One football player will be making an appearance at the Super Bowl even though he is not playing for either team and has yet to sign an NFL contract. His name is Tim Tebow, former quarterback of the University of Florida.
The occasion of Tim Tebow’s appearance will be a thirty second ad purchased by the Pro Life group Focus on the Family. Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl ad will be a pro-life message crafted not so much as a political advocacy commercial as it is a personal, family story. Tim Tebow will be appearing with his mother, Pam. According to the Washington Times:
“The Tebows are evangelical Christians who have served as missionaries in the Philippines on numerous occasions and founded the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which continues to evangelize in the Philippines, where Tim was born.
“During one of the mission trips, Mrs. Tebow came down with amoebic dysentery and slipped into a coma, requiring a treatment regimen that included strong antibiotics that can damage or kill an unborn child. When Mrs. Tebow learned she was pregnant, doctors advised her to abort the baby, whom she and her husband had prayed for and already named Timothy, she told the Gainesville, Fla., Sun in 2007.
“Tim Tebow grew up to be one of the greatest players in college football history – becoming the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy as the game’s best player, being nominated as a Heisman finalist two other times, and helping lead the Florida Gators to two national titles in his four years at the university.”
Generally networks are loath to air issue ads during the Super Bowl. A number of ads, proposed by organizations ranging from Moveon.Org to PETA, have been rejected in the past. The Focus on the Family ad was approved because it does not explicitly ask anyone to do anything; it simply tells the story of Tim Tebow and his mother and allows the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions.
The ad and the fact that CBS has approved it has angered some feminist groups. According to the New York Daily News, the Women’s Media Center was especially blunt. The Women’s Media Center stated about the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad.
“By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers.”
One does not have to be down the line pro-life to wonder at the mindset that does not want to engage opposing viewpoints, but rather seeks to shut them up. The insults do not help either.
One gets the sense that the feminist groups are angry that they did not think of this kind of ad for the Super Bowl first. It may not be too late to correct that mistake, if the feminists have two or three million dollars to spend. They could tell another story, say of a thirteen-year-old girl raped and impregnated by a close relative but who benefited by having access to an abortion. Don’t tell anyone to do anything; just allow people to draw their own conclusions.
Perhaps that is too easy, though. Hurtling insults and making threats are far more satisfying.
Sources: Tebow’s pro-life ad set for Super Bowl, Casey Curlin, Washington Times, January 26th, 2010
Women’s groups protest Tim Tebow’s pro-life Super Bowl ad for Focus on the Family, Joe Tacopino, New York Daily News, January 26th, 2010