'Tebowing' prayer stirs debate, but quarterback is OK with it
November 9th, 2011
01:16 PM ET

'Tebowing' prayer stirs debate, but quarterback is OK with it

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) - Tim Tebow is used to being a lightning rod. While he was the quarterback at the University of Florida, he drew a lot of attention. And we mean a lot.

He won the Heisman Trophy (the only sophomore to ever win the award), and his team won two NCAA football titles. Plus, he was very public about his Christian faith. He wore Bible verses on his eye black. He invoked God frequently at news conferences.

No one doubted that Tebow was a great college quarterback and a good kid. But all the media attention made some people weary of the name.  He's good, they said, but he's no messiah.

Being a great college quarterback doesn’t always translate into being a good pro quarterback and, let’s be honest, there are more than a few people taking great glee from the second-year player's recent struggles with the Denver Broncos.

And even some of Tebow's better moments on the field are sowing controversy. During an October 23 contest against the winless Miami Dolphins, the Broncos trailed until a last-minute touchdown and two-point conversion by Tebow tied the score. Denver won in overtime.

Afterward, Jared Kleinstein, a Denver-born Broncos fan who was watching the game from New York, noticed that Tebow had knelt in prayer, alone on the sidelines, while his teammates celebrated on the field.

Kleinstein decided to take a picture outside the New York bar where he had gathered with friends. Six of them knelt on their knees with their balled-up right fists to their faces, Tebow-style.

Kleinstein started a website, www.tebowing.com, defining Tebow as a verb: “To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” His photo was the first one posted.

More photos came in from around the world. People Tebowed from the Philippines, the Vatican, Iraq, even in front of the Great Pyramid. They Tebowed at the airport, at the hospital, even at an "Occupy Chicago" protest. As of Tuesday,  Kleinstein had posted more than 600 photos on his site.

Tebow, for his part, approves. “Love it,” he wrote on Twitter.

But did he love it when Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch sacked him in an October 30 game and proceeded to “Tebow?”

“He was celebrating and having fun with his teammates. I don’t take offense to that,” Tebow said during a session with the media last week.

Tebow, who has started three games for the 3-5 Broncos, does not shy away from criticism of his quarterbacking - or of his faith. The son of missionaries, he embraces his spotlight to draw attention to his Christianity. He and his mother appeared in a Focus on the Family anti-abortion ad that appeared during the Super Bowl in February.

That kind of faith-based boldness separates Tebow from other religious sports figures. His more public displays hearten supporters and enrage detractors.

Some commentators, like ESPN.com writer Jemele Hill, think making sport of Tebow's beliefs is offensive. She writes of Tulloch's Tebowing pose:

Prayer is a sacred component of any religion. Making fun of someone else's spiritual connection is on par with ridiculing them about their family. You don't have to be a Christian to get that, just someone who understands the concept of respect.

Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, a Christian, says there is some jealousy of Tebow among other NFL players. But he doubts the Lions were making fun of the quarterback, even though another player Tebowed after scoring a touchdown during the same game against Denver, a 45-10 rout.

“I don’t believe people are saying, 'I am going to mock his faith,'" Dungy said on his website, All Pro Dad.

Former NFL quarterback Phil Simms isn’t surprised that other players want a piece of a player who is new to the league and whom the media obsesses over.

“They want to see you [succeed] on the field first,” Simms said in a video on Sports Illustrated’s website.

Tebow acknowledges that some who have sent their pictures into the Tebowing website are making fun of him and some are mocking religion. But he told the Denver Post he prefers not to judge anyone. He told reporter Lindsay H. Jones:

"It's not my job to see people's reasons behind it, but I know (of a kid) with cancer that tweeted me, 'Tebowing while I'm chemoing' — how cool is that? That's worth it right now. If that gives him any encouragement or puts a smile on his face, or gives him encouragement to pray, that's completely awesome."

What do you think? Are people being disrespectful of religion by Tebowing? Was Tebow asking for it?

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Celebrity • Colorado • Prayer • Sports

soundoff (799 Responses)
  1. Dood

    Tebow can suck a big fat dick. Tired of hearing about this turd.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm |


      November 9, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  2. Jason K

    Moron, Sam Bradford was a Soph when he won it the year after Tebow. There were 2 Soph Heisman Trophy recipients
    2008 from Oklahoma!

    Boomer Sooner

    November 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Jason K

      2008 Sam Bradford from Oklahoma
      Boomer Sooner!

      November 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  3. Mike - WA

    I have no problem with anyone that chooses to worhship any god, goddess or form of magic of their choice. And how they worhsip doesn't bother me as long as it doesn't impose on others. What is bothersome is that some people believe their god or goddess favors them above others. It's like the "thank you jesus" quarterback that won the Superbowl a few years back. The idea that his jesus-god favored him above all others on the field was not only bizarre but extremely offensive.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  4. scranton

    Refreshing to see a player kneel in prayer when making a touchdown than gyrating their bodies, shaking like a beheaded chicken, or pulling out a cell phone calling some other idiot.

    November 9, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  5. DGH

    Good for him

    November 9, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • mfx3

      the lone loser

      November 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      YES YOU ARE.

      November 9, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  6. cl78

    If a man wants to worship a jewish zombie as his master and symbolically eat his flesh and drink his blood as atonement for sins created 5000 years ago by a woman made from a rib who at a fruit from a magical tree because a talking snake told her too, who am I to argue.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  7. steve

    This is a guy following his own ideals and faith. He is not forcing anyone to do the same. He should be allowed to believe and do what he wants without ridicule. We want people to let us follow our beliefs and have respect. Let us give him the same. This is still a free country.

    November 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      Truly and sincerely and publicly believing that the eternally omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent deity is the creator of life, the universe, and *everything* in the past, present and future and actually takes an active interest in a human male's performance in a game involving throwing, catching, and running with a ball on our little rock circling one sun out of infinity

      IS ABSURD!

      as is dropping into a pose to briefly communicate with such a deity and so one's display of belief can "be seen of men" (Matt. 6:5-8) in the middle of said game.

      If you're going to do something ridiculous and be extremely public about the fact that you do so, then expect to be laughed at! This kind of behavior does NOT deserve respect by default any more than pulling out a stashed cellphone or doing the dirty bird. It's time to stop handling absurd beliefs and behavior (including attempts to legislate one's beliefs into the law over a secular nation!) with kid gloves.

      It's okay to laugh at silly ideas. Religious ideas are no longer immune to this fact. Time to join the rest of us in 2011.

      November 9, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  8. Jodi Cornbread in Da House

    Why is everyone so angry on this blog?

    God bless 🙂

    November 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • Bob

      Thanks for nothing.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jodi Cornbread in Da House

      Awww I hurt Bob's feelings 🙁

      November 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Andy Anderson

      No, Bob just truthfully called you out on the actual value of your smug invocation of your preferred deity's blessings.

      Check your religious privilege.

      November 9, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  9. Portland tony


    November 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  10. T. Newman

    Why are people mocking the one-knee prayer of Tebow? I don't understand how people can mock it for fun, get angry when he does it, or the big deal! He is just a player praising the lord. The prayer from the knee is the same as the heaven-pointing finger present in every sport after a major score, turnover, or victory. We should all pray that we can be so open and adamant about something as Tebow is about his faith. I've used the same style to pray after getting through events for the Army, life, school, and work. Give the guy a break and find something actually worth making the news to post on CNN.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      T. Newman
      How is this news again?

      And of COURSE the players are going to make fun of him. He is doing dorky things and he sucks as a player so the other players are going to break his balls for a while. No big deal and I am sure he gets that.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • mfx3

      Just to clarify, people aren't mocking Tebow's prayer. They're mocking Tebow.

      November 9, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Mk2

      @Alien, Tebow is 3-3 as an NFL starter and he has 18 TDs against 4 Ints and 2 fumbles , Orton on the exact same team is 4-14 , 28 TDs , 16 INt s and 6 fumbles. He does not suck, in fact he has Denver 1 game out of first place which no one believed possible when he took over a 1-4 team . So stop the hate, and stop talking about something you obviously know little about .

      November 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      A lot of these posts are not even me by the way but whatever.

      My wife is a Bronco fan. I am a Dolphins fan. I know plenty about good QB's and bad QB's. Marino – good. Elway – good. Tebow – maybe a tight end. He willl never make it in the NFL as a starting QB and Elway must be high.

      November 9, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  11. HeavenSent

    Have a lovely evening everyone. It was fun chatting. I will be back tomorrow! Remember, Jesus loves you, and I will pray for almost all of you. Those of you that will not receive the benefit of my prayers aren't worth the time or effort due to your constant spewing of hatred and babble.


    November 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      Dont fall and break your hip trying to Tebow, you old bat lol!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Bob

      HS, thanks for nothing. Other than your venom and anger, that is.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
  12. Shawn Olsen

    Hey heaven sent and others Katy Perry had parents who are evangelists and she turned out wonderful, thank God that she has some brains.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  13. rachel creek

    hey orifice i truly hope my children find happiness in god because that way people like you won't bother them spewing your hatred like a broken sprinkler head! besides delusional can be fun when used sparingly.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Bob

      rachel, seems like you are the one spewing hatred, judging from your mean description of AO. For me, Alien Orifice's posts are a breath of fresh air here.

      Careful, or your nasty god will punish you for that brief crime with an eternity of torture. And anyway, your kids will have to find god first, which no one has managed to do so far.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Just be sure to do as much damage as you can so the can be brainless like the Christians on this blog.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      And what Bob said. Thanks Bob.

      Seriously though Rachel, at least give them a well rounded view of the world and encourage them to think critically. Why can't you let them decide for themselves when their minds are more mature? Are you afraid they will see the silliness of your beliefs? I bet they would.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      AO was molested when he was a child and blames God for it. He is bitter. Pray for him.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • rachel creek

      Tebow is setting a good example. I like what he is doing and i like my children to have good role models to look up to. Bob, i am not free of sin and i will be praying with my kids before bed tonight and especially asking forgiveness for my sharp tongue. but you sirs are complete PUDS!!! god please forgive me. hope you all receive carpal tunnel as a gift from your keyboard gods. as for me i'm going to leave this lovely place of unhappy people whom sit like sharks waiting to snap at someone for just about anything! I SAY GOOD DAY! AMEN!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • Bob

      rachel, in fact, that was quite a snap that you just did yourself.

      Your dorsal fin is showing. How very typically Christian of you; claim to have the high ground, but reveal yourself as being in the gutter by your actions.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Hey Rachel, you keep me and Bob's puds out of this missy.

      And as I told someone earlier on this post, I have no problem with his good deads. I want my children to see that too. But I can't ingore the fact that he is delusional and I don't buy into mixing religion in with his good deeds. He does what he wants because he wants, not because he is "called by God" to do it. Delusional.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • rachel creek

      You spelled "deeds" wrong.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Rachel, let me explain somthing to you ok? This is a blog. People type fast and there is not a spell checker unless you want to go back and forth between word or use that piece of crap Mozilla browser. Don't correct people's grammer or spelling. It only illustratates that you have nothing to say. I promise not to correct yours either. Besides. I thought you left. Change you mind?

      November 9, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  14. Semper fi

    Stand and be a witness show the world your love of Christ! The freedom to do so has been paid in blood.....some of it mine.

    November 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      All hail the delusional cultists who pray to the sky (or their kneepads) and keep ancient non-relevant superst itions alive and well.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The priest that did that to you when you were a child is not a representative of God. You can stop blaming God and move forward.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Bob

      Ah, the god that created everything, but didn't.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Shawn Olsen

      I I do not care anything about what he does, just don't tell me what I can do with my own body and that fetuses have more rights than grown women period.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • Keith

      AO suffers from a depraved mind-don't waste your breath on this slug.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HS, please be sure to see my final post to you a bit further down. You waste my time and our fun is done. Ta Ta

      November 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I already replied. I figured you out. That wasn't difficult AT ALL. You should pray.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien, don't you mean your fun is done? It's not so fun to insult others when they are able to figure you out is it. Don't like it very much do you. You blame God for the molestations and you lash out at others because it still hurts. We are not to blame. None of us here caused you pain. Pray to Jesus for peace.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Bob

      There is no proof that prayer has ever had any effect other than to waste time. If you disagree, please present your evidence, evidence that can be examined, that is.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • fred

      Proof of prayer is always denied by non-believers.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  15. Semper fi

    If a prayer rug was brought out and a kneeling toward mecca our where-ever had occurred no one would say a word.... Publicly

    November 9, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Bob

      You don't really believe that, do you? Anyway, CNN has put up an abundance of articles negative about Islam too. Take a deeper look.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • Shawn Olsen

      Oh Semper fi any reason to b ad mouth muslims and no i am not one, i thought we had freedom of religion in this country and that my friend means ALL RELIGION.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
  16. Richard

    Have a little tolerance..whether you believe or not ,civility in our everyday lives and politics would be refreshing

    November 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  17. Tebow's Gatorade is made out of People!!!


    November 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  18. smccuen

    it's "sowing" not sewing.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  19. rachel creek

    love it. love tebow, what a great example. he puts god first and i hope my boys see him and learn by example that all things are possible through god. plus isn't it refreshing to see someone just being a good decent human being? i think so.

    November 9, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Get that indocrination started there Rachel. Make sure your kids are just as delusional as you when the grow up and we can all live in fantasy land. Yea!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien, look who's dodging questions now. So which is it, were you made fun of as a child, abused by your parents or close relative, or perhaps a priest? Answer the question.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • HAHAHA

      "So which is it, were you made fun of as a child, abused by your parents or close relative, or perhaps a priest? Answer the question. "

      We already know the reason you lost your marbles was from abuse, just because you lost your mind doesn't mean everyone is like you. You need serious therapy since you obviously haven't forgiven the people that hurt you.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I've been fortunate enough in my life that I haven't been hurt. I'm asking Alien a question and he keeps dodging it as he accuses me of doing on a daily basis. The dodge tells me that I'm right, and this is why he's turned away from God and blames the Lord for everything that happened during his childhood.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HS, the question you are posing is directly related to why I "hate" or "blame" God. Since I don't believe in God, that question and your subsequent question are irrelevent as they are not logical. In simpler terms, I have already answered the question many times over and you are an idiot.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Another dodge. Predictable. You gave it away in a post on the previous page. A priest did something to you when you were a child. I WAS RIGHT.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      No, you are wrong. I never said it was a priest. Some people assumed that. However, I did not believe in God then either and my experiences as a child did not change my belief system. In fact, I was a seeker as a teen. I read the Bible, I attended many churches and went to Bible study. My conclusion finally was that all religions including Christianity are false. Hoaxes, Lies and unbearably boring. I have never believed in God, and I double checked to make sure I was right. I was. You are an idiot.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      You are lying. You just realized that I have you figured out and you are unable to come to terms with that. I can see it in your words, the way you talk around the issue and the way that you call me names to lash out as though I'm the enemy for seeing you for what you are. A victim. It isn't my fault you were molested. It's not God's fault either.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Bob

      HS, AO answered your question. Time you moved on from that. You seem pretty obsessive, for someone who claims to not be fat.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      He skated around the question because he knows I've got him figured out. Anywho, he probably deserved what happened to him.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Hey Bob, she is all yours if you want her! LOL
      Don't let the dumb rub off on you!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien, now trying to make light of the fact I have you figured out. Predictable atheist.


      November 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Bob

      AO thanks for the "offer" of HS, but I'll decline :-). Sounds like she'd be having trouble finding a mate, though.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Bob

      HS, so you actually just said that AO may have deserved se-xual abuse or other abuse, if I understood you correctly. That's a pretty horrible thing to say about anyone. Did your bible teach you that? Do you stand by that remark?

      November 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • fred

      I've seen him admit to the abuse a while back under one of his other handles. HS was right on the money with this one I hate to admit.

      November 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  20. Mr Chihuahua

    Tebow sucks lol!

    November 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Mr Chihuahua
      You crack me up because you are always laughing and cracking yourself up. Now that is the road to happiness, not just some phony God worshipped by delusional Cultists. Keep that smile brother.

      November 9, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      Likewise, lol!

      November 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Observer

      Mr Chihuahua,

      Tebow is 2 – 1 as a starter.

      How did you do in your NFL career?

      November 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Mr Chihuahua

      Paging Doctor Ed Hominem... Doctor Ed Hominem to the white courtesy phone please lol!

      November 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.