Tim Tebow may steal the Super Bowl spotlight by appearing in an antiabortion TV commercial with his mother, Pam, on Sunday night, but his faith is kept on the sidelines. Most reporters writing about the ad neglected to say that his mother’s faith was the reason she did not abort him when doctors warned he could be born severely disabled in 1987. Perhaps the sportswriters assumed that most people know about the family’s Christian beliefs. The former quarterback for the Florida Gators paints Bible verses under his eyes and is vocal about saving himself for marriage. Or perhaps writers, for a variety of reasons, are just uncomfortable exploring religion’s impact on an athlete.
Peter King, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, admits his own skepticism when players bring up their faith after a game. “I’ve seen enough examples of players who claim to be very religious and then they get divorced three times or get in trouble with the law,” Mr. King said earlier this week. “I’m not sure that the public is crying out for us to discover the religious beliefs of the athletes we’re writing about.”
Faith is the belief in things unseen. Sportswriters are trained to write about the observable. “One of the problems that we have is determining the veracity of a person’s claim that he has just won this game for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Mr. King said.