Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was the target of plenty of criticism this weekend when he spoke up against the California bill that would allow college athletes to benefit from their likeness and endorsements.
Tebow’s take was entirely misguided and ignored the struggles that the average student-athlete goes through while putting their bodies on the line for the benefit of a multibillion-dollar industry.
But Tebow did have some support within ESPN. While Stephen A. Smith did point out that he disagreed with what Tebow said about NCAA amateurism, he was particularly upset to see the sports world attack Tebow for the opinion. He defended Tebow during Monday’s edition of First Take.
“I’m very disgusted by it. Let me be very, very clear. I don’t agree with everything that Tim Tebow said. Tim Tebow is basically raving about amateurism. I would make the argument that amateurism doesn’t exist really in college football and college basketball. There’s just too much money that’s being made. But I totally respect and appreciate the perspective from which he came from. This is a guy that basically love amateurism and doesn’t want the sport tarnished by who are getting paid … But to castigate this man and excoriate him, to me, in that fashion, was utterly ridiculous.”
But Smith obviously didn’t see it that way.
Smith then made the point that Tebow didn’t come from privilege, which is debatable. Tebow stepped right into a high-paying TV job when his football career didn’t work out and was able to play professional baseball just because he’s Tim Tebow.