It has been a while since we have published a reader's e-mail. But this weekend, we received one that can be looked at many ways. Was FOX Sports analyst Brian Billick picking on Tim Tebow during the Sugar Bowl broadcast because of his religious beliefs?
Here is the e-mail we received (and it has not been edited in any way).
Dear Fox sports directors:
I would like to make a complaint to you regarding "coach Billick's" calling of the Sugar Bowl game. If you will go back and listen to the tape. you will find that he spent a majority of the time critizing Tim Tebow.
I don't need to rehearse Tebow's accomplishments over the last four years.
It became clear that the reason for his criticizing Tebow, was that Billick resents his faith. He said that Tim went overboard with it, and that was another reason he was unlikely to make it as a pro. "oh maybe someone will pick him up as a second or third round choice" He said that the reason he was able to make it in college is that everytime the jeering, snickering and scarism would start, his teamates would gather around him to protect him, that he would not have that benefit on the pro level.
Being a six month resident of Florida for the last four years, my wife and I became Gater fans, especially Tebow, along with our Carolina support.
Billick critized Tebow's passing style, compared to pPke's professional style, even showing slow motion and freeze framing. I had to "mute" much of the game because of his constant rambling, then late in the fourth quarter I turned the sound back on and he was critizing the logic of Tebow still throwing the ball. Six plays and sixty six yards later [touchdown].
I think that you and Fox and especially Billick, should apologize to Tebow and all his fans.
I think he (Billick) should be fired. His job is to explain the plays, not to personally try to destroy a person.
One way to interpret this email is that people will see or hear whatever they want on a broadcast. Another is that perhaps they heard something the rest of us did not.
While I agree that Billick was a little overboard on his critique of Tebow (and that he was out of his element for much of the broadcast), a lot of what he said did have merit. After all, he was a coach and knows what will work in the NFL. He does not think Tebow can cut it as a quarterback.
But there is one comment in the above email that showed that this writer was not listening to Billick.
Specifically, the emailer wrote:
"He said that the reason he was able to make it in college is that everytime the jeering, snickering and scarism would start, his teamates would gather around him to protect him, that he would not have that benefit on the pro level."
When Billick said this, I heard an entirely different context. What I heard Billick say was that Tebow was able to avoid many of the situations and pratfalls that many other college players fall victim to because his teammates were there to surround him, protect him, and keep him out of trouble. What Billick finished with was spot on: he will not have that kind of support system in the pros, and that he might not be able to cope with the harsher glare of the media spotlight. He never mentioned religion in this context.
So what do you think? Did Billick go overboard and critique Tebow because of religious beliefs, or was he providing an honest assessment based on his years of experience?