Fox News
December 12, 2011

Why Is Tim Tebow Being Targeted?

Guests: Rich Lowry & Patton Dodd

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 12, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: As faith may be the subject of controversy, both on and off the field. Denver Bronco's quarterback Tim Tebow isn't letting the commotion affect his game.

On Sunday, he led his game to their sixth straight win. But despite his respectful demeanor and his undeniable success on the field, many seem to be offended by his outspoken views on religion and God.

Now last spring, Tebow told me how he was able to embrace the role of being a Christian in the spotlight. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM MAY 31)

TIM TEBOW, NFL QUARTERBACK: I'm blessed with a platform. More than a platform it's responsibility and obligation to be a great role model, to set a great example. It's one thing to score touchdowns and win trophies and championships. At the end of the day, that doesn't matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: While other professional athletes may be out partying with women, drinking, doing drugs, Tebow explained the secret for resisting those temptations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEBOW: I think the number one way that you handle that is obviously by having a strong faith and relying on that, staying in the world. But also by having a great support staff around you, by having friends that keep you accountable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Joining me with reaction, Fox News contributor, Rich Lowry. The author of the book "The Tebow Mystique," and managing editor of pattheos.com, Patton Dodd. Guys, good to see you. What do you think?

RICH LOWRY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's amazing, he's become cultural lightning rod for a couple of reasons I think. One is all the experts said he would fail because of his playing style. So you have a lot of people who just resent the fact that he is being successful with the unorthodox playing style.

There are some people who just don't like the overt religiosity. There are some people, I believe, who just don't like the fact that that he is so darn earnest, so sincere and so good. Part of us really prefers flawed heroes to someone like Tim Tebow.

HANNITY: I guess maybe the thing is -- I spent a little time with him and I got to know him. I really liked him. You know, as a Jets fan, I'm pulling for him because I'm sick and tired of the criticism of the guy.

It's like I've been following this closely and I'm just amazed at how well he has done. Real life, he is a great guy. What is it? We have to have role models that are out with celebrity girls? A different one every night, drinking and partying, doing drugs and getting tattoos. Athletes are role models whether we want to admit it or not.

PATTON DODD, "THE TEBOW MYSTIQUE": I agree with Rich. I don't think we know how to trust a character like Tim Tebow. I think that, you know, in one level I get the skepticism. We have been burned before by these public figures who proclaim their faith and turn out to be more interested in their own personal power than they are in real piety, but that's exactly the point with Tim Tebow.

I don't think that's true of him. This is a guy who for years now he has been cultivating and articulating a kind of Christianity that expresses itself through serving others and taking care of the poor and the needy, to, you know, speaking in prisons and through strong leadership. I think that is how he understands his faith and expresses it and I think it's genuine down to his core.

HANNITY: You know, one of these has impressed me about a lot of professional athletes, if you watch a game on Sunday. At the end of the game, you often see guys from both teams get in a circle and pray together.

LOWRY: Yes, well, that is one reason that is a little unusual that Tebow is so controversial because we are used to athletes constantly invoking God and thanking God.

I just think as Patton refers to, he takes so it much further. This is a guy who is not just talking the talk, but he's really walking the walk.

I mean, it's extremely moving some of his rich, famous, successful, and so invested in giving it back. He reaches out to sick people, handicap people and --

HANNITY: How many time have you seen guys that hit home runs and bless themselves and look upstairs like that.

LOWRY: The other thing I don't know why people care that he occasionally takes a knee and quietly prays to God. On every Sunday, you have receivers making a catch and celebrating like they won the Super Bowl. And these ridiculous dances in the end zone. So, it doesn't seem the least bit intrusive for someone occasionally to pray.

HANNITY: Patton, last word.

DODD: Yes, I think that anything and anyone that is seeing him take a knee on the sideline and thanking Jesus in press conferences and taking that as the full extent of the way he wants to express his faith isn't paying attention.

I mean, this guy at every opportunity tries to talk about other people. His concern for terminally ill kids that he hangs out with every week. His concern for his teammates, you know, his leadership ability.

Those are the things that I think really make up the content of his faith. It's not worth getting hung up on his faith gestures on the field.

HANNITY: Guys, good to see you. Thanks so much for being with us. Rich, good to see you.

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