Tim Tebow hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2012, but he’s being dragged into the league’s kneeling controversy anyway after a photo of him “Tebowing” on an NFL sideline in 2011 recently resurfaced.
According to USA Today, Tebow has seen the photo floating around on social media and isn’t happy that people are misrepresenting his kneeling as a formal protest.
The football star turned baseball hopeful was quick to clarify that he’s never knelt during the national anthem before any sporting event he’s participated in. He went on to accuse critics of twisting the photo to create a false narrative.
The photo in question
According to The Score, rapper T.I. reposted the photo of Tebow kneeling on Instagram with a caption that accused the NFL of a double standard for overlooking Tebow’s “protests.”
The caption in the reposted photo states that Tebow knelt in protest of abortion laws.
Tim Tebow’s passionate response
Before taking the field Friday night for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Double-A affiliate for the New York Mets, Tebow clarified to USA Today’s Josh Peter that his kneeling was always for religious reasons.
“I think that’s sometimes one of the things that’s a little bit sad is sometimes people will just try to create something that had zero truth. I never did anything during a national anthem but stand and support my country. And then stories can get written and they can get put out of proportion so that you believe one thing when you’re asking me a question that was nothing that was part of the truth.”
Tebow added that he’s also bothered when people misrepresent photos of him kneeling as a touchdown celebration.
“It was never something I did to take away from somebody else. It was just something I did with a personal relationship with my God. So I think that’s just sometimes disappointing when things get taken away from the truth and then it’s just created into whatever somebody wants it to be.”
Tim Tebow’s stance on national anthem protests
National anthem protests continue to be a divisive subject. It was at the heart of President Donald Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles visit to the White House this week, and it will remain front and center with the NFL mandating that players stand during the anthem this season.
While Tebow himself chooses not to protest during the national anthem, he offered no criticism for those who do. He simply wishes for people to take time to understand what’s behind the protest before making a judgment.
“I think when people believe in something and they stand for that, I don’t knock them for that,’’ he said. “Even if I agree with some or disagree with some, I appreciate it when people have convictions and they stand for that.
“I think it’s important how we do that as well. So I think there’s a lot of players that I’m friends with that have been on both sides and I understand it and I think what’s more important is to know their heart and where they’re coming from and where the conviction stands in their heart and what they really want to share.”
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