When once and (possibly) future NFL star Tim Tebow signed a one-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars last week for the upcoming 2021-22 season, it predictably rankled chronically aggrieved race hustlers.
Tebow — a former Heisman Trophy-winning college quarterback, but one who didn’t live up to expectations in the NFL — is attempting a comeback, this time as tight end. He hasn’t played in a regular-season NFL game since 2012.
That’s four years longer away than former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose chief claim to fame was causing a political firestorm in the 2016 season by taking a knee, rather than standing, during the national anthem before games to protest alleged racial injustice and police brutality. A handful of other players joined Kaepernick‘s wildly inappropriate pregame grandstanding.
It was inappropriate, because there’s a time and a place for everything, including political protests, but just before kickoff at NFL games was neither the time, nor the place.
Kaepernick hasn’t been offered an NFL contract since abruptly quitting after the 2016-17 season, and his apologists — including some NFL players and some sports media talking heads — claim he‘s been “blackballed.”
They’re outraged that Tebow, 33, is getting a second chance, while Kaepernick, also 33, remains sidelined. ESPN’s Steven A. Smith, who is Black, and others reflexively dubbed it “white privilege,” because Tebow is White and Kaepernick is of mixed race. (They conveniently ignore the fact that Kaepernick is half-White.)
But that charge of “white privilege” is meritless — and, dare we say, racist. First, it’s totally understandable why no NFL owner would want to take a chance on signing a mercurial and polarizing figure like Kaepernick, who has a chip on his shoulder the size of a football. The Colin-istas are engaged in false moral equivalence in contending that Tebow is just as polarizing.
Kneeling in prayer as the evangelical Christian Tebow does (though not during the national anthem) is not the same as taking a knee in political protest. Tebow is “polarizing” only if you’re an anti-Christian bigot.
Another big difference: Kaepernick — who’s making millions in an endorsement deal with Nike, which exploits forced labor in China to make its shoes (the racial injustice of which doesn’t appear to bother him) — seems to think he‘s somehow entitled to an NFL contract.
By contrast, Tebow thanked the Jaguars “for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team.” Those are words of gratitude unlikely ever to cross Kaepernick‘s lips.
While it’s true Tebow got the gig because his college coach is now the Jaguars‘ head coach, it’s just a one-year contract, and not a multiyear deal — meaning, he has to earn renewal.
Since the very large majority of NFL players are Black — 68.7% — it’s hard to accuse the organization of being racist against Blacks. So instead of crediting ‘white privilege’ for Tebow‘s second chance, it makes more sense to credit his humility and perseverance.