Ted Kluck wonders if RG III is the Tebow. And he regrets that Tim Tebow didn’t have more opportunity to be just an NFL football player.
I admit it felt weird writing a book about Robert Griffin III just weeks into his rookie season with the Washington Redskins. At this point, nobody knows how God will use success, failure, and other circumstances to shape this professional, professing Christian football star. As John Piper once said in a sermon, “Living heroes are important, but they might cease to be heroes before they die.” That’s to say, the jury is still out on Griffin and, to be fair, all of us.
A scant three years ago, when Griffin was still playing college football at Baylor University, we may have thought the same things about then-hero Tim Tebow. Amazingly, we’re already living in a post-Tebow NFL. Back then, everything Tebow touched turned to gold. Heisman winner. National champion. First-round draft choice. Author. Spokesman for everything.
A celebrity-hungry evangelical fan base “made” Tebow by clamoring for anything Tebow-related: books, jerseys, photographs, autographs, documentaries, commercials, articles, game tickets, and conference tickets. We put Tebow on a very significant public pedestal because he stood for what we stood for, everything from a pro-life position to homeschooling to the actual gospel.
If “mentioning your faith” had a spectrum, Tebow would be on the high end of that spectrum, and Griffin would be on the moderate-to-low end. While public faith was an integral part of the Tebow brand, Griffin seems low-key by comparison. He said nothing more than “God had a plan” at his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. He has tweeted periodically—but not excessively—about his faith. His Twitter bio is a play on the popular evangelical mantra of relationship-not-religion, saying “I have no Religion. I have a relationship with God.” Still, Griffin seems to be walking a fine line, appealing to Christians and non-Christians alike.
There’s something weird about the Christian celebrity culture. . . .
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