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Super Bowl Sunday perfect place for ad

February 1, 2010
By MIKE MATHISON

The flap over the Tim Tebow commercial Sunday sometime during the Super Bowl is rather funny to me on various fronts.

One reason is because of one of the dumbest quotes I have read in a long time.

"An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year - an event designed to bring Americans together," said Jemhu Greene, president of the Women's Media Center.

Sports, in itself, is a divisional thing. Both teams want to win and both can't.

Half the fans in a gym want one team and half the fans want the other.

In boxing, guys want to beat the tar out of the other.

A bench-clearing brawl sure brings people together on the baseball field.

Same thing with a pair of goons fighting in hockey.

Sports is not one big lovefest.

People on the bench want to be starters.

People who got cut want to be on the team.

Parents want the coach to play their kid more, regardless of ability.

When a referee blows a whistle, half like the call and half don't.

Since when is the Super Bowl supposed to be a place to bring Americans together?

It brings Americans together in all sorts of places to watch the game with, unless you are in Indianapolis or New Orleans, about half the group wanting the other team to win.

Overall, I would guess the one-third principle exists throughout the nation - one-third want the Colts to win, one-third want the Saints to win and the other one-third just does not care.

How in the world is that bringing Americans together?

Mind you, all these people who are whining about the commercial ad have no earthly idea exactly what is going to be said in the ad, although they have a pretty good idea.

Thirty-second commercials during the Super Bowl are selling for $2.5 million to $2.8 million. Gary Schneeberger, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, said funds for the Tebow ad were donated by a few "very generous friends" and did not come from the group's general fund.

Schneeberger said he and his colleagues "were a little surprised" at the furor over the ad.

"There's nothing political and controversial about it," he said. "When the day arrives, and you sit down to watch the game on TV, those who oppose it will be quite surprised at what the ad is all about."

Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, said she had respect for the private choices made by women such as Pam Tebow but condemned the planned ad as "extraordinarily offensive and demeaning."

"That's not being respectful of other people's lives," O'Neill said. "It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else's."

So, Terry, you say that ad is not being respectful of other people's lives, but it's just fine to show Danica Patrick in most of her glory selling a commercial ad for a web site?

You see, those commercial ads aren't offensive to anyone and are in no way disrespectful to other people's lives.

A protest letter from the Women's Media Center suggested that CBS should have turned down the ad in part because it was conceived by Focus on the Family.

"By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers," the letter said.

So, what we have hear are groups of people who preach tolerance in what they believe in, but refuse to show any with this ad?

So, what the Women's Media Center is saying that this Tebow ad will damage CBS's reputation and alienate viewers, but it's just dandy that women showing so much skin that there is very little left to the imagination are on numerous commercial ads selling chips or web sites or something else?

But, that's OK for my 13-year-old son to see?

Better yet, it's OK for your 13-year-old son to see?

That's OK for thousands of youth groups around the country to see?

That's the image the Women's Media Center and NOW have no problem displaying for young women?

Really?

Their daughters?

Really?

I really find that hard to believe.

So, according to them, the Tebow ad will be offensive, but no other ad during that Sunday will be offensive to anyone else?

Really?

Finally, the dumbest of them all.

A columnist for CBSSports.com, Gregg Doyel, also objected to the CBS decision to show the ad, specifically because it would air on Super Sunday.

"But there are going to be about 100 million of us who won't be happy for 30 seconds of the Super Bowl," he wrote. "That'll happen during that half-minute when we're subjected to the pro-life advertisement featuring Tebow, which was put together by the evangelical Christian organization Focus on the Family.

"If you're a sports fan, and I am, that's the holiest day of the year. It's not a day to discuss abortion. For it, against it, I don't care what you are. On Super Sunday, I don't care what I am. Feb. 7 is simply not the day to have that discussion."

I thoroughly respect Doyel's right to write, but if he really thinks 100 million people "won't be happy for 30 seconds of the Super Bowl" he is way off base.

If it's a blowout, there will be a ton of people not happy for more than 30 seconds.

As hard as it may be for Doyel to understand, there are thousands of families who will sit around the tube and watch the game. They will watch that ad with utmost attention to see what the big deal was all about.

They will have discussions about what a terrible third down play Peyton Manning just called.

They will have discussions about the questionable challenge by Saints coach Sean Payton.

They will have discussions about why the fourth-and-1 turned into a field goal instead of a play action pass.

I just know what discussion you will not have.

"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," Tebow said of the commercial. "I've always been very convicted to it (his views on abortion) because that's the reason I'm here, because my mom was a very courageous woman. So any way that I could help, I would do it."

This controversy leading up to the biggest game in the NFL is a big reason why this country is so great.

The fact that we are having this discussion in a sports venue is something that just doesn't go on around the world.

Discuss away.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com)

 
 

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