On the field, University of Florida senior Tim Tebow is stirring up a great deal of controversy: Will he succeed in the NFL as a quarterback? Will he be drafted in the first round? What position is he best suited for as a professional?
But those questions pale in comparison to the fervor Tebow is creating away from the gridiron.
The former Heisman Trophy winner is slated to star in air a 30-second Super Bowl commercial this season. It will be paid for by the Christian group Focus on the Family and will emphasize the football star's pro-life stance on abortion.
The ad, whose slogan is "Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life," features Tebow and his mother Pam, who ignored doctor's orders to terminate her pregnancy.
The decision by CBS to air the $2.5 million commercial has come under fire from the Women’s Media Center. In a letter to the network, it writes:
CBS’s recent decision to air an anti-choice advertisement during Super Bowl XLIV was outrageous. Even worse is the network’s about face from its own policy of rejecting controversial Super Bowl ads. The Women’s Media Center, and organizations dedicated to reproductive rights, tolerance, and social justice, are urging the network to immediately cancel this ad.
This does make for an interesting case, as free speech advocates will stand by the ad and point to the First Amendment.
Often misunderstood, this amendment has nothing to do with an instance such as this. It simply means one cannot be jailed solely for expressing one's views.
CBS, for example, has rejected numerous commercials in the past, such as campaigns on behalf of PETA, MoveOn.org and the United Church of Christ. It's surprising the network would approve such a clearly controversial spot.
Then again, how can something be "anti-choice," as the organization references above? Tebow isn't mandating an end to abortions, he's simply expressing a view, the choice he'd make if faced with the situation.
"I know some people won't agree with it, but I think they can at least respect that I stand up for what I believe," he said.
Super Bowl XLIV airs live from Miami on Sunday, February 7. Will you tune in for it? Where you stand on this debate?