CBS’s Tim Tebow Mistake January 28, 2010

CBS’s Tim Tebow Mistake

Mike Celizic of can’t believe CBS is allowing the Tim Tebow/anti-abortion ad to air during the Super Bowl next weekend:

… Focus on the Family can run its ad because everyone likes Tim Tebow, and the anti-choice agenda is buried underneath the feel-good story of the kid who wasn’t supposed to be born but grew up to be a hero. But neither [CBS] nor any other network will take an ad from an atheist group whose message is there is no heaven, no hell and no god. That would tick off the paying customers.

This makes me wish an atheist organization would do just that. And if not a Super Bowl ad, maybe one college kid could be persuaded to write “There is” and “no God” on his stripes of eye black. Either that or “Allahu” and “Akhbar.”

Can you imagine the uproar either one of those messages would inspire? The good folks at Fox News would be apoplectic. James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Rick Warren and everyone else who has reaped millions by telling people what God wants them to do would start preparing for the rapture.

Of course, no organization I know of has $2,500,000 to throw around on a 30-second commercial. The donations many groups get barely allow them to sustain general operations, much less spend them on major television commercials.

But if we did…

Celizic is right. The uproar would be incredible. The double standards would be coming from the left and right. We’d be blamed for the downfall of damn near everything.

But as I said before, let CBS air this ad and make their mistake. I don’t think it’ll be very effective toward Focus on the Family’s anti-abortion aim. It’s $2.5 million that isn’t being used against gay friends. It’s ammo for us to use in the future.

Celizic doesn’t think it should be aired at all, though. (And he makes good sense.)

… It will no doubt be a very heartwarming spot. I guess the point is that if Tebow’s mother had followed the doctors’ advice, the world would have been deprived of a desperately needed football player and there would not have been a Heisman Trophy winner in 2007.

The Super Bowl doesn’t need it, and neither do we.

Yes, I’m sure everyone stuffing their face with Cheetos and beer, running to the bathroom, and looking over the paper that tells you how much you won or lost in the office Super Bowl Pool will stop everything for those 30 seconds and cancel that abortion they’re scheduled to have on Monday.

I was curious about the specific content of the ad a few days ago.

Now, I’m more curious about which ads are going to come before and after it and when the ad will be played.

(Thanks to freelancer for the link!)

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  • And where is the equivalent ad, with the widowed husband whose wife refused abortion and died, along with her child? Where is the exhausted mother, caretaker of the special-needs child whom she insisted on carrying to term and now must care for alone, because her husband fled? Show her fellow church members pitching in to help, if you can find that.

    The hideous implication CBS is promoting is that doctors suggest and women accept abortion casually, that they can be swayed by a commercial. Yes, there are women who treat it as such, but they are the tiny majority. For most it is a terribly serious decision, and they don’t need to be reminded of it during a sporting event.

    I love football, but I won’t be back to CBS after the game.

  • joe agnost

    I love the idea of putting an athiest message on a players undereye tape.

    When Tebow puts “John 3:16” on his eye tape the announcers not only mention it, but read from the bible EXACTLY what the quote he’s referring to says. I cringe… it’s wonderful advertising for christians of course – I wonder what they’d do if the tape said “there is — no god”?

    I’d pay money to see that.

  • Siamang

    Read the whole piece. It’s really well-written, with lots of great, memorable zingers.

    I’m really amazed that NBC let him write it!

  • Dave

    I hope a GoDaddy ad plays directly afterward.

  • Polly

    You want to stuff your religion down my throat, have the decency to come and ring my doorbell like a good Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness.

    No. Don’t ring my doorbell. I’d much rather have the commercial…that I can ignore – like I do the Superbowl, itself.
    Only, I may actually tune in for this commercial. I’m glad it worked out for Tebow’s mom and, especially for Tebow. Not everyone should follow suit but it sounds like an uplifting story.

  • Polly

    I’m really amazed that NBC let him write it!

    Well, he is bad-mouthing their competition.

  • Hazor

    Dave: That would make me lol.

    “I guess the point is that if Tebow’s mother had followed the doctors’ advice, the world would have been deprived of a desperately needed football player and there would not have been a Heisman Trophy winner in 2007.”

    Er. Would not someone else have been picked for the trophy? You don’t arbitrarily decide to not hand it out just because the person you would have given it to was never born. That doesn’t even make sense – am I missing something?

    And I don’t quite understand the ‘desperately needed’ part. Is it for his football playing being combined with overt religiosity, or?

  • I couldn’t figure out what was written on Tim Tebow’s face in the picture.
    Looks to me that Focus on the Family is a Xian organization and that in the US most anti-abortion people are Xian, but just to play devil’s advocate, secularists can be against abortion, too. Recently, when writing about conservative atheists, I found a bunch of such people.
    Oh, and this ad looks really tasteless in terms of what it’s implying. “Gosh, it didn’t occur to me that my unwanted embryo might turn out to be a big sports star! Oh, in *that* case…” Yep, this is exactly the way to be a responsible parent.

  • jmmmm

    And given that abortion was illegal in the Philippines when Tebow was in utero and then born (to American missionaries), his whole story smells like bullshit to begin with. Not that Saint Tebow would ever be questioned about anything.

  • CarolAnn :)

    I wonder how many kids who weren’t aborted grew up to be something important like, oh I don’t know, a teacher or a doctor or someone who might have an actual impact on humanity?

    Like we need another athlete held up as an incredible achievement or something.

    If they have to run something like this how about using someone really important?

  • Zarathustra

    I will Boycott CBS from now on…..

  • Barrett

    Hazor, that segment that you quote is very sarcastic. Football would’ve been just fine without him, and yes, they would’ve given someone else the trophy in 2007.

  • Matto the Hun

    I was born with a herniated diaphragm (I think that’s the right term). At the time there was only a 25% survival rate for babies born with that condition.

    Sadly I did not get into football or any other sport. Nor am I famous in anyway.

    Otherwise I could be on the football field and say “Not only is there probably no god, but if there was a god, the bastard tried to kill a little baby, but thanks to science and humanity I lived! Not so omnipotent now are ya?”… but somehow condense that to something short.

    But first let’s get me famous.

  • martin

    I am really hoping it airs right after the SAINTS lose possession from a fumble due to the Quarterback being UNPROTECTED from a SACK.

    How ironic would that be 😀

  • Joshua W.

    I have been trying to reserve comments on this until I actually see the ad as most of the information out right now appears to be speculation.

    I have always wondered what the rules are in regards to Tebow’s biblical eye back verses being that Florida is a state school. I’m not surprised that it’s pretty much a non-issue because even if it is against the rules just bringing it to the surface would be a total PR nightmare.

    As far as the funding, I found the following in the press release on the FoF website. Jim Daly, president and CEO of FoF said:
    “all the funds to air the ad came from a handful of “very generous and committed friends” who donated specifically to support the project. No money from the ministry’s general fund was used.”

    Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this ad is sandwiched right between a Viagra ad and an ad for

  • martin

    “I have always wondered what the rules are in regards to Tebow’s biblical eye back verses being that Florida is a state school. I’m not surprised that it’s pretty much a non-issue because even if it is against the rules just bringing it to the surface would be a total PR nightmare.”

    Since it is just a personal action of the student, there is no rules against it. As long as the school or any employees of the school are taking part in it or reinforcing it, it is all protected under the first amendment.

    If the whole team decided to do it, then it could start crossing the line into possibly being a problem.

  • Here’s what I wrote in the comments for the newsstory:

    ‘All of you touting “free speech”, “not-religious”, and saying that it’s perfectly fine to air this – would you feel the same way about a commercial promoting a Woman’s Right to Choose for her Health? What about an ad that featured a woman who talked about how if she hadn’t aborted a fetus, both she and the child would have died? I mean, it’s a positive message right? The woman lived through her ideal, so it’s a public service announcement, right? Or is it because this “Pro-Life” ad matches your ideals that it’s okay?

    My personal views aside, I don’t see a problem with running an ad like this – as long as all of you who feel it should run wouldn’t have a problem with a “pro-choice” ad running in next year’s Super Bowl. Fair is fair, right?

    For those touting religion – I have one thing to say to you. Keep your views in your home. Keep your faith personal between you and God. Not every American is Christian, and that’s our problem, isn’t it? It’s not your job to fix my life.

    And finally, hear hear to a great article.’

    The Christians were out in full force in that commentary, all the ignorance was making my head dizzy. It’s too bad I’ll have to wait afterwards for all the commercials on YouTube, as we don’t get the same ads here in Canada.

  • @Matto: I wouldn’t mind having that on a t-shirt somehow.

  • Ross

    @Joshua W.

    Throw in a Budweiser commercial and we’re set.

  • Ooooooooooooooo….Cheetos.

  • SusanR

    I have wished someone would start a group for women who didn’t have an abortion with a particular pregnancy, but wish they had…..
    I wonder about all the mothers of people who do horrible things. Do they wish they had an abortion instead of bringing that person into the world?

  • My first thought was wondering about this doctor who was “advising” his mother to have an abortion. I thought that sounded somewhat fishy, but perfect to “enhance” an anti-abortion message.

    Is there any source for this claim other than his mother?

    Anyway, I don’t have a problem with it airing. I DO have a problem with the right-wingers bitching about free speech if CBS decides NOT to air it. CBS isn’t a government company and they can refuse to air anything they want, as far as I know.

    A few people I know are saying it’s a message on “marriage and parenthood.” I just laughed and shook my head. Idiots.

  • Not to be sexist or anything, but I find it amusing that, when I went to to read Celizic’s article, there was a link for a slideshow to lots of scantily clad cheerleaders.

    Take THAT, Focus on the Family! LOL!

  • Jim

    Whenever an anti-abortionist tries to hit me with “What if your mother had an abortion” shtick, I generally counter with “What if Hitler’s mother had an abortion?” Or any other despot/dictator/serial killer can be substituted for Hitler, the effect is the same. Most “What if…” arguments are pretty much useless anyway.

  • Heidi

    It’s $2.5 million that isn’t being used against gay friends.

    Way to find a positive angle in anything! Nice!

  • Awwww… and it turns out it’s a lie. Pam Tebow was in the Philippines when this happened, and abortion in all forms has been illegal in that country since 1870:

  • Graxis

    If you can pony up the $2.5 mil to get the spot to put the ad, then do it. Businesses take money from whomever has it. You can still speak freely (for the most part) here, no matter what side of the coin you find yourself on. This should be on Fark. News that isn’t news, for people who don’t have enough to worry about.

  • Revyloution


    Our local atheist group is getting together that day for some godless fun. Someone pointed out that it was Superbowl Sunday, and no one else even knew.

    Were just going ahead with the meetup, since there is only one sports fan out of 27 members.

  • Oh heck. Let them run the ads and reap the consequences of it. I’m willing to bet that most Americans, religious or not, don’t care to have a particular religion’s message pop up on them in the midst of their enjoyment of watching the Super Bowl. They are more likely to turn more people off from it than inspiring new believers, I think.

    And I really would not like to see an ads for atheism during the game either. Why sink to that level? :oP

  • Keep your rosaries off my ovaries; that’s all I have to say.

  • muggle

    Yeah, because that would have been a great loss to the world if Tebow didn’t exist, right?

    As for the your mother might have had an abortion, I growl, “Instead of beating me, you mean?”

    I mean, c’mon, what kind of dumb argument is that? Like I’d miss life if I never had it?

  • CybrgnX

    I’ve been told by many that I’m weird and have some odd outlooks on life. But I’m always amazed when I hear someone talk about anything they see on a commercial as if it was factual. EVERY commercial I ever wasted time watching is in my opinion a BALD FACED LIE of the 2nd order!!! Religion is a lie of the 1st order. In fact the most fun part of watching a commercial is to spot the lie.
    Commercials are the proof that most americans are gullible bunch of fools.

  • Erp

    I believe the United Church of Christ tried to buy air time during the 2004 Super Bowl for a commercial emphasizing that they welcomed everyone. They were turned down.

    I wonder if they ever confuse the verses. One amusing tale I heard from a minister was about a reading from the Bible at a wedding. The reading was suppose to be from 1 John 4 which is about love, perfectly appropriate at a wedding. The reader read from John 4 (the gospel not one of the letters attributed to John) which included

    “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

  • Polly

    I hope the colts get many slam-dunks on those Dodgers in the World Super Cup thingy.


    Someone pointed out that it was Superbowl Sunday, and no one else even knew.

    Weren’t you the one with the Star-Trek tattoo? Hmm-mm. Yeah, that sounds about right. 🙂

  • Revyloution

    Ya Polly. Im a confirmed nerd. I also have the Swartzchild radius formula, Pi to 17 digits, the graph of the golden ratio, a straight razor with the word Occam on the blade and Occams philosophy, an F clef, the Tree of Gondor with ‘not all who wander are lost’ in Elvish, and the Star and Man from Rush.

    Be careful with tattoos, they are addicting.

  • Curtis

    CBS should air this ad. They should air any ad that is not truly offensive. Please notice I said “should” not “must”.

    If broadcast TV was free to all comers, I would say that private companies clearly have the right to air ads favoring one side or the other. However, because entry into broadcast TV is so tightly regulated, this is more debatable.

  • One year ago today on UTI:

    The Christian Goose And The Atheist Gander

    Heh. 🙂

  • MST

    Hello, I am a Christian and prolife. I’m not a conservative or even a Republican, nor am I here to argue the issue. I just wanted to point out that 1) Yes, there are prolife agnostics and atheists, such as Nat Hentoff; and 2) No, I wouldn’t mind if CBS or any other channel ran a prochoice ad during the Superbowl or at any other time.
    Freedom of speech applies to everyone, right?

    BTW, here is a link to a secular prolife organization:

    Thanks for listening.

  • Garry

    What would Jesus do? He would probably be doing a commercial himself. Who knows, this may be a very important part of his plan. You can either not watch the commercial or for that fact, not watch the game. I dare say, not one person, except the greedy, will benefit from the game you will watch tonight. If only one life is spared to enter this world, Tim did his part. I do not hear anyone complaining about the beer or liquor commercials, that entices the 1000’s of DUI murders a year, or the ignorant condom commercials that encourage our teenagers and irresponsibles to have sex. Those lib ideas that have ruined this country and will continue to ruin it under a demonic President Black Muslim. You are here, so therefore, thank and praise God!

  • FriendofSavior

    Well, after all opinions have been stated, one could say, “All non-believers, LIFE hating and religion hating souls who presently exist due to no power of your own, or anyone afraid to defend the sacredness and dignity of other people’s lives, please step forward for your FREE adult abortion today – no cost whatsoever.”
    I wonder how long the line would be?

  • Gee, well, can’t we just celebrate life alittle bit??

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