Reporting Jon Keller
BOSTON (CBS) – If I had a dollar for every time over the years I’ve talked about the danger of kids looking up to professional atheletes as role models, I’d have enough to start my own Super Pac.
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And a look at the latest ESPN poll of America’s top ten favorite jocks bears out that warning.
There’s Kobe Bryant at number two, a superb athelete whose persistent selfishness has at times threatened to consume him.
There’s LeBron James, another narcissist who has yet to show he understands the oldest sports cliché in the book, that there is no “I” in team.
And at number seven on the list, Tiger Woods.
Need I say more?
But topping that poll for the first time is a young man who has claimed the top spot earlier in his career than any other athlete.
And in addition to earning that honor on the basis of outstanding performance on the field, Tim Tebow’s victory is significant for another reason – unlike some of his peers, he seems to be the kind of guy you’d want to be a mentor to your own kid.
By now everyone’s aware of Tebow’s open, devout religious faith, which by itself doesn’t necessarily make him a role model.
But did you know he was the first home-schooled student to win the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s best college football player, and has willingly lent his name to the political movement to allow home-schooled students to play for their local high-school teams.
Without being strident about it, Tebow has stood up for his political and religious beliefs in other ways, and by all accounts, lives a personal life that practices what he preaches.
To top it all off, he’s a dog lover.
I join all New Englanders, of course, in hoping that Tebow flops Saturday night when he faces the Patriots in the big game.
But even we Pats’ fans can agree that he is a refreshing change from the one-dimensional, self-absorbed jocks who so often soak up the adoration of the fans without any sense of obligation to live up to it and pay it forward.
Even if Tebow loses on Saturday, he’s that rare winner who doesn’t make you feel like a loser for admiring him.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.