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.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

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.

Comments (48)
  1. GoPats says:

    Ok .. so, wait … he is a great, unselfish guy because he (1) was home schooled and (2) he likes dogs?? I am also religious but I don’t choose to pray on the 50 yard line while millions of people watch. Talk about an attention getting,selfish idiot!

    1. Ellen says:

      I don’t know about that one GoPats. I like the kid myself, and he’s a lot more appealing then most sports stars out there, and that includes Tom Brady. I wish the Pats the best, but having a Tim Tebow playing makes the game a lot more interesting that’s for sure.

      1. fred says:

        If you read about the circumstances of his birth, his mother was extrmeley ill, she was on medication that could be harmful to the baby and the doctors recommended terminating the pregancy so as not to risk her life and not have a baby with possible severe medical problems – it is no wonder that he is such a religious person. For his parents he must be thought of as a miracle. So if this is how he celebrates life – more power to him but go PATS anyway.

  2. web says:

    He is not ashamed to show who he really is, that is a respectable trait. I rarely see many Catholics with ash on their forehead on Ash Wednesday, for example. I also respect the jewish people who wear yamakas. He is religious and not afraid to show it. Nothing wrong with that, but something very right. Good for him. He is not jumping up and down for the cameras to see him (like the cheerleaders for example) not attention seeking, but he is attention getting…there’s a difference.

    1. gramps says:

      How soon B/4 we see someone ‘whip out a prayer rug’ in the ‘end zone’?

      Then the ‘Cheerleaders’ will wear ‘Burkas’….

      Religion S/BE kept private….


      I’ll take the Lions -7 over the Christians…

      1. web says:

        As long as there is no ‘delay of game’, the prayer rug wouldn’t bother me either. Burkas on cheerleaders…go ahead, I don’t watch them anyway. I don’t think religion should be kept private, if it was, how else would some of us become inquisitive enough to learn about them? You see something and it sparks your curiosity, your interest, possibly a learning example. What’s wrong with that?

      2. tsalnew says:

        web I absolutely agree about a prayer rug or any form of religion. It’s everyone’s right.

      3. gramps says:

        Had Religion been kept a private matter the deaths of eight hundred & nine million, two hundred & fifteen thousand, seven hundred & thirty two+-……809,215,732…..would have been avoided…(per ‘GOOGLE’).

        That’s almost one ‘BILLION’ people…..nice guy this god person’!

        So going to church is just like attending ‘BOOTCAMP’ for the next….
        ‘holy war’ group sacrafice!


      4. tsalnew says:

        Gramps – religion did not start any wars – man started the wars. If he were not using religion as an excuse, he’d use something else.

      5. The Battmann says:

        And two regimes (Mao and Stalin) that allowed NO religion, the deaths of over a hundred million people were ordered. Religion or non religion causes no deaths whatsoever. It is the atrocities that man is willing to commit upon his fellow man that causes these needless and wanton deaths.

      6. gramps says:

        Let’s not talk about ‘socialist’s’…….

        That’s gonna open up a ‘whole new’ discusion!



      7. Willow says:

        Gramps, what difference does it make? Religious, socialists, communists, etc, dead is dead, and horrific numbers of them. And, we weren’t talking about religious war either, we were talking about prayer, and a person’s right to do so.

      8. The Battmann says:

        Two things

        Thing one: socialism has nothing to do with it because those regimes were communist.

        Thing two: You are “conveniently” ignoring the fact that neither religion or politics cause any deaths. It is what man does using those as an excuse that cause the deaths you speak of.

      9. gramps says:

        The two of you must have gone to ‘Public School’….

        Your abilities to ‘Research, Reason, Read & Comprehend’, are tragic….


      10. The Battmann says:

        Doesn’t seem like ‘parochial school’ did you much good either

      11. The Owl says:

        Some one puts a prayer rug out and starts praying, I’m going to stand in your way when you want to walk over it.

        Gramps, stop being a bigot.

      12. Tsal says:

        Owl I hope many of us will stand beside you

  3. tsalnew says:

    I don’t know about exceptional – Brady is exception and Tebow is inconsistent at best. He’s good – perhaps a bit better. As far as Tebow as a person, he is exceptional. He is exactly the type of sports figure I’d want my kids to emulate. It has nothing to do with his religious beliefs and everything to do with the fact that he is what he is. He’s honest and open and a good sportsman. All that being said, Brady is all of those things as well. AND he is an exceptional player.

    1. The Owl says:

      Key words. Good sportsman.

      Play hard, be gracious whether you win or lose.

      Sorely lacking in “sports” today.

      But then again, they aren’t sports any more. They are money-grabs.

      Give me Tebow and his ilk any time, thank you.

  4. petem says:

    I don’t have a strong leaning either way on Tebow, but it does bother me that he trumpets his ‘faith’ as he does, but claims to be Christian. I believe it was JC Himself who was quoted telling his followers to ‘beware of false prophets he publicly profess their faith’, and ‘directs them to pray in their closet’. Even if he says he’s an evangelist, how do you resolve doing what your ‘lord’ tells to not to do?

    1. tsalnew says:

      Hi Petem – it doesn’t bother me that he stops to pray. Religion is very personal for me but I don’t expect others to adhere to my beliefs. If he were praying and then turning around and acting like a jerk, then I’d be worried. But he sure seems to carry the respect for others through everything he does. I wish we had more people like that. And as far as doing what the Lord tells you to do – I think the Lord (religion) speaks to everyone in a different way.

    2. web says:

      I wasn’t there, so I can’t speak for sure, but I question the ‘pray in their closet’ remark. If that were the case, what about all the mobs of people who followed him outside publicly, what about church? I think the bible is the most widely interpreted book in our history, many people have their own interpretations of every quote and saying. So my interpretation is I don’t think he is ‘professing’ as much as ‘displaying’. And in my book, a display of love or respect or humbleness is a good thing. Is it the bowing that crosses the line for people? Most of the time I see people point to heaven and make a sign of the one really mentions it…so is it the bowing? No big deal for me there either.

      1. petem says:

        web, re: pray in your closet; I suggest looking it up. It goes to JC’s concern that people who pray very publicly to bring attention to themselves, which I think is the point of pride being a no-no…as far as the people following him, he was preaching. Tebow isn’t a preacher. If he wants to become one, all the power to him, but his role now is football player.

      2. tsalnew says:

        My roll is wife and mom and grandmom and business owner. I don’t think that precludes prayer – anywhere and any time I want. It is the right of anyone in this country to do what he pleases. PeteM – your comment below is accurate re media hype – and that’s what is happening here. Tebow isn’t asking for the attention – the media is making a big deal out of his taking time to pray. I have trouble understanding what the problem is

  5. Willow says:

    I wish people would be as upset with some of the rage and violence we witness almost on a daily basis instead of someone bowing in prayer. I also wish people wouldn’t throw out one paragraph of the written word without referring to the entire context of what the author is writing about. If we are to go to our prayer closets to pray, then we shouldn’t have built churches. How public can you get? I would be blessed if any of my children looked to Tebow as a role model not only as a Christian, but as a man. As usual, everyone wants to jump on the ‘religion’ bandwagon. Why don’t we pick on drunks, druggies, etc?

    1. tsalnew says:

      Nicely said, Willow!

    2. petem says:

      I believe we are upset about Rage and violence and pick on drunks, druggies, and all manner of people who make the news. The problem is that the ‘news has morphed into something like infotainment, where we have to be on the edge of our seats about things or they’re not covered. This is why the boring day to day things that our government does that keeps the wheels rolling doesn’t make the 6 o’clock news, but stories about horses stuck in mud or endless stories about the Lt Gov’s crash dominate the shortened news program (due to more commercials), rather than real examinations of things that are happening here or in Washington. Did you know that Pres. Obama signed a defense bill that allows him, by only his decision to imprison American citizens with no charges, no trial ever? He did. and even though he has said he won’t use the power, he could take that back or worse yet a future president could and we’d never know. Isn’t that something we SHOULD be learning about rather than the garbage we get?

      1. Willow says:

        I totally agree, petem.

  6. Alexis MacLean says:

    Thank you Jon – good report.

  7. GoPats says:

    Tebow has a lot to be proud of. He is a great athlete and football player. I also have no issue with public display of religious belief. What I do take issue with is using one’s media exposure to gain attention (and I do stand corrected from before… “attention seeking” was my intent). I believe that Tebow is using this national exposure to make a unique identifier for himself. The act of prayer is now referred to as Tebowing”. Tebow – Play football and leave your prayers at home.

    1. tsalnew says:

      GoPats – I’m a bit confused as to how you feel qualified to know what Tebow is thinking. If the media is hyping his religious beliefs, that is not Tebow’s problem and if you are letting it bother you, that is also not Tebow’s problem. I guess I have never felt qualified to speak for what another person is thinking.

  8. justme says:

    i don’t know what kind of football player he will end up being, but he seems like a decent and kind person. If he wants to pray after a touchdown, that is his choice. At least he is not running for the nearest camera to boost his own ego.

    I read a story in the Denver Post about the girl he mentioned in the press conference. Seventy+ surgeries, including losing a lung. By bringing her to the game and spending time with her she felt like a million bucks. Good for her, and good for him.

    I wish him the best. Except on Saturday..

    1. tsalnew says:

      hahahahahaha – ditto, justme!!!

  9. Th. Donaghey says:

    I smell a double standard at work here:

    I realize Jon Keller is looking for heroism in sports figures. Pretty common temptation, to put people on a pedestal, idolize them, worship them, and then desecrate them when they prove to be human. Why not praise the good, critique the evil, and recognize the humanness in it all?

    (I’m just waiting for Jon Keller to find fault with Mr. Tebow, I guess. It’ll happen, if previous experience is worth anything.)

  10. Stanley11 says:

    I find it funny that no one criticized Cris Carter when he pointed to the sky after every touchdown. No one criticizes Big Papi when he points to the sky after a home run. No one criticized Deion Sanders when he blessed himself before he was ready to return every punt, and no one criticized Kurt Warner every time he thanked God in a post game interview.

    So, what’s the problem here? If you don’t like it, go watch figure skating.

    Go Pats!

  11. ginnyp says:

    It isn’t Tebow that is calling attention to his gameday activities, it’s the media who is trying to make a big deal out of it. The guy is a clean cut, straight living, decent profssional athlete, I guess that is such a shock to the media that they just don’t know how to handle it.

    1. web says:

      I agree! He does a quick bow and everyone is all over him waiting for the next one! I don’t think they announce it at the game, for a moment of silence…it’s media hype.

  12. web says:

    gramps, do not blame religion on the deaths of almost a billion people. It’s the people who distorted and interpreted their version of religion that caused those deaths. How many of us knew about Islam before a few years ago? Muslims, Jewish? Buddist? Bring it all out in the open so we can experience, learn and enjoy it! Why keep it hidden at home? Hiding at home, praying, all in secret silence..this only promotes fear and distortion of what you are really doing. And it probably promotes wrong information and stereotypes. (I heard he prays at home, what’s up with that? what does that mean? what is he a weirdo of some sort? what is he afraid of?)..comments like that…

    1. tsalnew says:

      absolutely – I agree with all of your comments, web.

      1. Willow says:

        Me too, Web!

    2. The Owl says:

      Gramps doesn’t understand that ALL wars involve the pursuit of power.

      But then again, getting Gramps to understand may be problematical at best.

    3. gramps says:

      web & whoever else aggrees with her,

      1 out of every 5 people on this Planet is a ‘MUSLIM’….&….

      There are 57 Islamic Countries…..&…..You & others are just finding out about them/ Islam?!!??

      Too bad about the ‘Titanic’, isn’t it!


  13. massman says:

    Tim Tebow defines obnoxious. He, the Denver Broncos, and the NFL, have made a boat load of cash off of his “Christianity”. Profiteering in the name of Christ. Classic. Modern day EvangeliBow. Imagine calling this home schooled football player, “refreshing”.

    “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:24

    1. justme says:

      kind, generous and humble, sure defines obnoxious
      i think it is really your dislike of christianity or maybe religion in general that you makes you bash tebow.

  14. emom says:

    Hold on, I as a christian will be upset over the the ever conflict over taking religion out of places, I hate it when simply things are mocked and ridiculed. We have a story now about a banner in a school that’s been there for decades. And how a young child disliked it because it hampers her religious belief. Now we condone this as a public display and are extremely excepting of it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t care What Tebow does, BUT at some point with all the media hype wouldn’t you think he would say something about NOT making a big deal over it.After all it has become a problem if anyone in this country even mentions their religious beliefs let along celebrate it in a public display.
    How long will it be before someone wants him to stop and that its oppressing them since its IN THEIR FACE..
    I wish him luck but have to wonder seeing this behavior is it any different than all the other stories of displaying someones belief and how long will it last before someone speaks out about it,

  15. brian says:

    Gee, I wish he could have mixed it up a little…he threw 3 great afroamerican sports players under the bus and chimed in a forth with the M. Vick punch and gave accolades to a young white christian football player? If this is an innocent oversight I think he would want to correct it? If not, I know i can always change the channel.

    1. gramps says:

      You play the ‘R’ card!!!

      You’re another victim of Smiley, Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Dyson, West, Jackson et al…..They’ve done their job well!

      You’ve got ‘quite’ a reach!…..

      The ‘R’ Card’ used to mean something, now, with the likes of yourself & many others, throwing it out ‘willie nilley’, have rendered it benign.

      You’ve got ‘quite’ a reach


    2. tsalnew says:

      Do you really consider those three great players to be a person you’d want your child to look up to? For rape among other things?? If that’s your idea of a model for a child, I’m more than a bit confused.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s