So I guess mocking Tim Tebow is still a thing.
The Charleston RiverDogs minor league baseball team said they were just “poking fun” when they repeatedly satirized Tim Tebow’s Christian faith during a three-game series against the Columbia Fireflies over the weekend.
Tebow, an outfielder for the Fireflies, and his celebrity fame secured three sold-out games for the RiverDogs at Riley Park, but that didn’t stop them from trolling the Heisman Trophy winner for being an outspoken follower of Christ.
According to The Post and Courier, the “Hallelujah Chorus” played every time Tebow approached the plate, and the team’s mascot, Charlie, wore eye black reading “John 3:16” — something the former quarterback did while playing for the Florida Gators. Charlie was also seen “Tebowing,” a viral 2011 meme originating from Tebow’s Denver days when he would kneel in prayer after a successful play.
I’ve caught the Tebow fever. pic.twitter.com/l0UeNOqHQw
— Charlie T. RiverDog (@charlieriverdog) June 17, 2017
In other taunts unrelated to faith, a giant video screen in right field read “Not Tim Tebow” every time a Fireflies player came up to bat and also showed a picture of Tebow crying after the Gators’ 2009 SEC Championship loss to Alabama, The Post and Courier reported.
RiverDogs president and general manager Dave Echols issued an apology Tuesday following considerable backlash on social media for the stunt.
“While we believe that our promotions were poking fun at Mr. Tebow’s celebrity status rather than his religion or baseball career, our intent was not to offend anyone, and for the fact that we did offend, we are sorry,” Echols said. “Of the many promotional pieces that we executed, there were a handful on Friday’s game that some construed as in poor taste, and we made it a focus to remove those elements and celebrate Mr. Tebow the remainder of his time in Charleston.”
Now, this isn’t something I can get too outraged about. With Tebow’s history, it’s incredibly likely that he found it was all in fun as well. But I do find it a bit annoying. As someone who attended the University of Florida and worked for a city newspaper during Tebow’s heyday, I’ve witnessed firsthand the utter contempt non-Christian liberals have for a man (who won them two national championships, mind you) just because he refused to keep quiet about his faith. It’s something that started at UF and continued throughout his entire career. Remember the buzz created in 2012 when he was traded from Denver to uber liberal New York? Commentators said he was entering the enemy camp. And now they’re comparing the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick to Tebow, in that no one wants to take on the media circus that comes with signing them.
It’s amazing that being a white male Christian is so controversial, but these are the times we’re living in now. The funny fact is that while the liberal media remains skeptical of Tebow, the people can’t get enough of him: His presence in Charleston over the weekend caused the RiverDogs to sell out the three-game series in advance for the first time ever. Dubbed the “Tebow effect,” Baseball America estimates that Tebow brings in an additional $44,200 per game.
The RiverDogs beat the Fireflies twice in the series.