Tim Tebow Was Hired for Football Knowledge, Not Religious Beliefs, ESPN Says

Tim Tebow Was Hired for Football Knowledge, Not Religious Beliefs, ESPN Says

Tebow will continue to pursue NFL dreams despite his new gig as an analyst

Tim Tebow's faith has made him a football icon, but ESPN executives stress that they hired the former Heisman Trophy winner as an analyst on its new college football network, SEC, because of his knowledge of the game, not his religious beliefs.

“We acknowledge and understand that Tim’s faith is a big part of who he is… at the same time we hired him for his football opinions,” Justin Connolly, ESPN senior vice president programming, college networks, said on a conference call with media on Tuesday.

How Tebow shares his religious beliefs on social media and during broadcasts will be part of a “continuing dialogue,” Connolly said.

Also read: CAA Signs Tim Tebow For All His Business

For Tebow, who was let go from the New England Patriots this year and has struggled to find an NFL employer, part of the appeal of the ESPN contract is that it includes an opt-out clause if a professional football team comes calling.

Tebow, whose multi-year deal at ESPN requires him to appear on SEC Nation, a pregame show that will air live from a different SEC campus each week, said his busy schedule will not prevent him from continuing to try to break back into the NFL.

“I don't think it will impact my training,” Tebow said.

“I will continue to push myself to become better every single day — not only as a quarterback, but also as an analyst,” he added.

Also read: Tim Tebow Beats Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees All At Once

Tebow and ESPN brass said they weren't concerned that the former Florida Gators star's aw shucks demeanor would prevent him from being critical when warranted.

“I’ve never had a hard time saying what I believe or standing up for something,” he said.

That may include making tough assessments of his former team.

“I’ll always be a Gator, but I've got to be objective as well,” Tebow said.

  • erkcyclisme

    Why would anyone think ESPN hired Tebow because of his religious beliefs?

  • Donna Halper

    Unfortunately, certain segments of the public can become quite a powerful pressure group. There is a discourse on many conservative Christian websites, and even on some conservative TV and radio talk shows, that the mainstream media are opposed to Christianity; when something happens that this group perceives as anti-Christian (even if in reality, it's not), they will immediately express their outrage by calling, writing, tweeting, signing petitions, etc. And conservative Christians have long been eager to see Tebow get an increased opportunity to express his religious views, which they believe have been censored by the media.

    Thus, it may well be that the hiring of Tim Tebow by ESPN was greeting by conservative Christians as a triumphant moment, one in which he will at last be able to share his faith while talking football. ESPN is walking a fine line here: on the one hand, Tebow is a popular and telegenic guy; he has many fans, and that could get ESPN some additional ratings. But on the other hand, some of his religious views are controversial and could alienate mainstream audiences who don't want to talk about religion and just want to hear football analysis. It will be interesting to see if this experiment works out, or if soon his supporters will once again be claiming his religious views are being censored.

    • Bill Via

      Tim should do the best job he can without expressing his religious beliefs. I am a Christian but the opportunity to witness is not necessarily during a sports broadcast but rather when he achieves even more popularity and is ASKED about his beliefs, then he can witness. Much like Phil Robertson for Duck Dynasty when asked his opinion. Phil did not force his ideology on anyone….he was asked the question and he responded…..Tebow should hold to the same. Don't ask….don't tell…..don't agree with what you know I am going to say….then dammit don't ask me.