It speaks to the magnetism of Tim Tebow when a major national magazine wants to do a spread on him just before football season. After all, Tebow is not even the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. In fact, he’s not even necessarily the official backup to Mark Sanchez. Yet, he dominates the media, and this will only grow in intensity as the season approaches and begins. However, the GQ spread involved Tebow in a shirtless pose that has many tongues wagging that it is sacrilegious in nature.
The outrage revolves around the idea that the shirtless pose with arms outstretched looks an awful lot like a Christ-like pose. And we all know Tim Tebow’s affinity to speak out about his religious affiliations, so many are surprised that he would allow such a photo to be publicized of him with the possible interpretation that it might invite. This is a case of the media wanting so very much to find some dirt on one of the cleanest celebrities in our culture. Tebow simply doesn’t ever do anything for the media to jump on and grab a hold to, so they are forced to grasp at straws. By blowing this spread out of proportion, they are attempting to make people think that Tim Tebow is somehow comparing himself to Jesus Christ.
Let’s examine the reality behind this controversy. GQ did take the photo in question. Only it was actually years ago when Tim Tebow was a Florida Gator. The photo has been edited to be re-released now, probably because Tebow wouldn’t do such a shoot again. To create the Jesus-effect, they edited the original photograph to make it black and white. This conceals the fact that he is wearing his blue Gator uniform pants in the photo and obscures the fact that he is in The Swamp in Gainesville in the photograph, not in New York City. It also makes the picture look more damning. Something about the black and white and careful cropping makes the clouds have some sort of ominous look rolling above him, only adding to the mystique. The original photo, as you can see, is not nearly as foreboding.
Bottom line — Tebow is a polarizing figure just by going around and being himself, but the media can’t stand that he is polarizing because of something like being a devout Christian. They will do anything to throw some dirt on him or try to find some example of him doing something that goes against his religious affiliations. Now, if they had a picture of him eating a Chick-fil-A sandwich, that would be controversial.