GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Legendary former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow used his platform as a star athlete and role model to promote his deep Christian faith. His routine of kneeling on one knee in prayer during his time in the NFL spawned the term “Tebowing.”
With many football players now taking a knee for a different reason, as a political statement during pregame renditions of the national anthem, Tebow was asked Friday about his thoughts on the way players now use their platform.
“Sports can be an opportunity, hopefully used the right way, to be able to share certain things you believe in,” Tebow said. “For me, it was also the way that I tried to do it was a big part of it, as well. Obviously, that’s a big issue in today’s society, and people do it in a lot of different ways. For me, it was just something that my biggest dream, honestly, was to try to be a good role model. And it wasn’t necessarily just the way, in what I did or in how I talked about it. It was also in just the way I would try to treat people.
“One of my favorite quotes is ‘Every day I share the gospel, but every now and then I use words,’ you know? Meaning I shared what I believed, hopefully, with the way I treated people and hopefully [with how] I cared for people, whether it was just these fans or talking to you guys or whoever it was. So, hopefully, that was something I shared with people a lot more than anything that I said.”
Tebow was back on Florida’s campus in his role with SEC Network, as the SEC Nation pregame show will broadcast from Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday morning.
As for the national anthem protests, which have become a polarizing topic stretching beyond football, some NFL teams have taken unified approaches such as standing with their arms locked together as a sign of solidarity against issues of racial inequality, police brutality and in response to recent comments made by President Donald Trump. Many others continue to kneel.
Tebow was asked how he would handle the pregame national anthem. (Although he is now a minor league baseball player, the kneeling during anthems has been mostly a football matter.)
“That’s a good question,” he said with a smile, quietly declining to answer when pressed a second time.