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Tim Tebow is currently the hottest property in the sports world, but he is fast becoming Hollywood’s hottest property as well. The New York Jet is signed to the sports division of leading Hollywood agency CAA, following an alleged battle between the top agencies, who all wanted a piece of Tebow.
But could all the Tinseltown-type attention jeopardize his game and wholesome Christian image?
The NFL sensation – who works with brands like Nike, Jockey International and EA Sports, was even turned into a superhero “Super Tim” by Marvel Comics last year, and has been romantically linked to the likes of Taylor Swift and Diana Argon. Tebow’s also in-demand when it comes to A-list Hollywood parties.
All-in-all, Tebow is now considered a “number one get” for Manhattan and L.A party planners. With that, he has also become top prey for the paparazzi – and was even snapped getting a pedicure/manicure in Los Angeles this week. His fashion choices and sex symbol status are also routinely a subject of debate in the weeklies and online gossip sites.
But the Jets are reportedly trying to curb just how much Tebow can lend his name to.
“The Jets are trying to limit his endorsements and off the field commitments to ensure his focus remains on the field. If it becomes distracting, it could affect the team,” an insider told us. “There is definitely jealously among players if one starts earning too much money off-the-field, and after Tiger Woods, all sponsors and endorsers are increasingly skeptical.”
Still, another source close to the athlete shot down the rumors as being“not true,” and said the team wasn’t trying to limit Tebow’s endorsements or social presence.
Regardless, according to California-based publicist and sportswriter Angie Meyer, Tebow’s image could be tainted by Tinseltown if he doesn’t keep a relatively low profile.
"Athletes who mingle in Hollywood tend to lose both reliability and credibility from teammates, coaches and often times, fans,” explained Meyer. “If Tim Tebow wishes to remain a Christian role model, he must keep a far distance from Hollywood and celebrity. In order for him to improve his football career, and maintain his integrity within both the NFL and the religious communities, he should stay out of the tabloids completely.”
Lindsay McCormick, Comcast SportsNet Reporter, pointed out that the New York market is a completely different animal to Denver or even Florida, where Tebow started his career. Another sports insider said that there has been similar talk among trainers and athletes that Tebow may not be ready to deal with the brutal and incessant New York media.
“It does come with a new set of temptations and challenges, but as long as Tebow keeps his priorities in the right order and focuses on bettering himself at the game of football he will keep the public’s interest,” McCormick said. “Quarterback is a full-time commitment, which forces you to be ‘on’ at all times.”
On the flipside, branding expert Mark DiMassimo of DIGO Brands said that Tebow’s move to New York and frequent Hollywood presence are actually prime opportunities to build his brand – if he plays his cards right.
“Tim Tebow is a man, a Christian, and a pretty good player. And now he’s an icon and a star. Everything he does from now on is a brand choice too. He can make his choices, but he shouldn’t let them get made for him,” he said.
And so far, Tebow has been wise in ensuring his social life is mixed with a little philanthropy. For one, he recently attended the Cartoon Network’s Hall of Game Awards, and brought a 10-year-old girl with neurofibromatosis, a neurological disorder, as his date.
“There will be strict scrutiny on him like no other athlete in recent memory, he will really have to focus on the type of events he is attending,” Mike Grippo, Marketing Specialist, noted. “He is a smart guy, so I doubt he is going to do something that will hurt his Christian image. He lives that lifestyle; it is not just a show.”
But when it comes to his personal life, image experts are warning Tebow not to fall into the same trap as other footballers like Reggie Bush or Tony Romo, who fell for Hollywood girls (Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson, respectively) and according to some critics, their on-field performances arguably suffered.
“My advice for Tim Tebow,” Meyer added. “Marry a teacher, not an actress.”
A rep for Tebow and the Jets did not respond to a request for comment.