Tim Tebow unloaded a scathing response to a new California bill that proposes to allow college athletes to get paid for endorsements.
The former Florida Gators quarterback was clear he is no fan of the “Fair Pay to Play Act” passed by the California State Senate this week, giving a passionate defense of his position on ESPN’s “First Take” Friday and why students should not profit from the use of their name or image while in college.
“I feel like I have a little credibility and knowledge about this because when I was at the University of Florida, I think my jersey was one of the top-selling jerseys around the world,” the 32-year-old said.
“It was like Kobe, LeBron and then I was right behind them. I didn’t make a dollar from it and nor did I want to because I knew going into college what it was all about,” he explained.
“I knew going to Florida, my dream school, where I wanted to go, the passion for it and if I could support my team, support my college, support my University, that’s what it’s all about,” Tebow, who played for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007, said.
“But now, we’re changing it from ‘Us’ from ‘We’ from ‘My University’ from being an alumni where I care, which makes college football and college sports special, to then ‘Okay it’s not about us. It’s not about we, it’s just about me,'” he exclaimed.
The legislation, which is pending Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature, has been opposed by California schools and the NCAA but also has some high-profile support like that of Lakers star LeBron James. The bill, which passed unanimously in the State Senate and Assembly, would allow student athletes to hire agents to help them secure sponsorship and business deals.
“I know we live in a selfish culture where it’s all about us but we’re just adding and piling it onto that. Where it changes, what’s special about college football. We turn it into the NFL, where who has the most money, that’s where you go,” Tebow continued Friday.
“That’s why people are more passionate about college sports than they are about the NFL,” he argued.
“That’s why the stadiums are bigger in college than they are in the NFL, because it’s about your team, it’s about your university, it’s about where my family wanted to go, it’s about where my grandfather had a dream of seeing Florida win an SEC championship and you’re taking that away,” he continued.
“And, you’re taking that away so that young kids can earn a dollar and that’s just not where I feel college football needs to go,” Tebow said.
His impassioned view was not welcomed by many who slammed the athlete who had a family with financial stability and went on to earn millions in his sports career.
ESPN radio host Mike Golic, a former Notre Dame offensive lineman, was one of the voices that disagreed with Tebow.
I played with plenty of selfish guys who never made a dime off their name. loving something and making money aren’t mutually exclusive, IMO. https://t.co/AAAubf8BoH
— Mike Golic Jr (@MGolicJR57) September 13, 2019
I get loving your school. I get having a deep family connection, and getting to make decisions based off that. But those are luxuries. I grew up well off. Many of my teammates did not. It wasn’t selfish for them to need money just because I didn’t.
— Mike Golic Jr (@MGolicJR57) September 13, 2019
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas also weighed in as did others from the sports network.
Great perspective. That Tim Tebow wishes to turn down compensation doesn’t mean all should be required to. He is free to play for free. All athletes should have the same economic rights as LITERALLY everyone else. That’s real choice. https://t.co/arHsw4YRuP
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) September 13, 2019
I appreciate Tebow drawing on his own experience here. But he’s making an anti-individualist argument while using his own, individual story to disregard the needs of others. https://t.co/JmDoDr4hrd
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) September 13, 2019
“it’s about where your grandfather went,” tebow says about college football.
look on the field, man. many people the age of tebow’s grandfather proooooobably couldn’t go to florida. and if they went where their grandfathers went, someone would shut it down asap.
— bomani (@bomani_jones) September 13, 2019
The sports & entertainment ecosystem that protected and nurtured a post-playing Tebow isn’t going to be there for the overwhelming majority of major college athletes who come from less privileged circumstances. Tim should know that. https://t.co/9Qse6seyjM
— Ian O’Connor (@Ian_OConnor) September 13, 2019
Outside of ESPN, the criticism was the same, pointing to Tebow’s “privileged” life as a reason why he could not – and should not – hold the view that he does on the California bill.
But the NCAA is in full agreement, sending a letter to Newsom this week condemning the bill as “unconstitutional.”
NCAA responds to California Senate Bill 206 — measure would upend level playing field for all student-athletes. https://t.co/2KqmX4GdZL
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) September 11, 2019
“If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image, and likeness scheme, it would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics,” the letter read. “Right now, nearly half a million student-athletes in all 50 states compete under the same rules. This bill would remove that essential element of fairness and equal treatment that forms the bedrock of college sports.”
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