Judging from the emails I received, a number of you have seen this clip of Tebow going off on the state of California for trying to ruin college football.
“I know we live in a selfish culture where it’s all about us, but we’re just adding and piling it on to that where it changes what’s special about college football and we turn it into the NFL where who has the most money that’s where you go,” said Tebow. “That’s why people are more passionate about college sports than they are about the NFL. That’s why the stadiums are bigger in college than the NFL because it’s about your team, about your university, about where my family wanted to go, about where my grandfather had a dream of seeing Florida win an SEC championship and you’re taking that away so young kids can earn a dollar. And that’s not where I feel like college football needs to go.”
First off, I don’t question Tebow’s sincerity on the matter. I don’t even doubt that, had been given the choice at the time, he would have turned down the opportunity to take money.
But that’s just it. No college athlete is given that choice, by NCAA diktat.
Beyond that, I also doubt Tebow realizes how incredibly tone deaf his comments are. His grandfather had a dream about Florida; most of Tebow’s teammates’ grandfathers wouldn’t have been allowed to attend Florida. As he talks about young kids earning a dollar, all I can consider it where that got Green and Gurley, both of whom grew up in considerably less comfortable circumstances than did Tebow, and wound up on the wrong side of the NCAA for relative pennies.
Had the COA stipend come a few years earlier, I wonder if Tebow would have had the willingness to stand up in a team meeting and fervently urge his teammates to reject it. What I don’t wonder is whether his teammates would have gone along with it. My bet is that most of them would have found this thinking more compelling.