Some movie stars behave oh, so badly, behind the scenes. The same is true of NFL players.
Both professions produce humble heroes and despicable types, with the latter often getting more attention.
Tim Tebow’s biggest sin, to football faithful, was not living up to his Heisman Trophy hype. The University of Florida standout had a brief, glorious run with the Denver Broncos but couldn’t sustain a pro football career.
His baseball career started, and stalled, in the minor leagues.
The press might have faulted him for that and that alone. Instead, he became a “controversial” figure in the sport for being openly Christian. The “Tebow Knee” became his signature move, a gesture brimming with humility in a sport replete with boastful taunts.
He thanked God, not his physique, for his gridiron glory.
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Tebow didn’t trash his opponents or question coaches who noticed his skill deficit. He comported himself like a gentleman, always, and occasionally mentioned his faith in the Almighty.
Current athletes bowing to the Black Lives Matter movement, certainly divisive to many Americans, face zero scrutiny.
Parents had a sports figure their children could emulate without guilt. Yet the press pounced and seized on Tebow’s flaws in ways that weren’t commensurate with his miscues.
Consider this sneering report from an ESPN columnist about an early QB battle between Tebow and Kyle Orton.
Tebow, meanwhile, looked like a man being chased by bees. He barely got off a pass (1-for-3) and was sacked three times. Nice kid, sincere as a first kiss, but he’s not ready yet, might never be ready. Somebody alert the Filipino missionaries. If he doesn’t improve, he might be among them sooner than we thought.
Deseret News’ Doug Robinson summed him up perfectly.
“Tebow didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t swear, didn’t chase women, didn’t budge from the standards that were once America’s standards.”
Grantland captured why Tebow frustrated his critics.
He refuses to say anything that would validate the suspicion that he’s fake (or naïve or self-righteous or dumb).
Chris Pratt can relate, with one major difference.
Pratt earned a modicum of fame as the pudgy, pleasant chap from “Parks & Recreation.” He lost weight, got ripped and snagged the role of Star-Lord in 2014’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He quickly ascended to Hollywood’s A-list once that film exploded, following it up with a part that cemented his heroic brand – “Jurassic World.”
He’s been a superstar ever since, anchoring that dinosaur franchise while co-starring in two MCU hits (“Guardians” and “The Avengers”). And, along the way, the press has treated him as, literally, the “worst Chris.”
Pratt, like Tebow, is open about his faith. He’s less vocal about it than Tebow, but anyone who digs into his life story will learn how God played a major role in his personal life.
And while Tebow never reached sports glory as some predicted, Pratt did exactly that. He’s on top of the Hollywood mountain, starring in hit TV shows (“The Terminal List”) and lending his voice to animated fare (“The LEGO Movie,” the upcoming “Garfield” and “Super Mario Bros.”).
The press’ reaction to his fame has been Tebow-like in its intensity. He’s been skewered for allegedly belonging to a church that is hostile to the LGBTQ+ community (not true). Media outlets roasted him for a benign comment he made after the birth of his latest child.
The far-Left Buzzfeed drummed up 13 examples of Pratt being “problematic,” each being more absurd than the last. (In 2020 he jokingly told fans to “vote” for his movie, “Onward”)
The “Worst Chris” meme, comparing Pratt to Pine, Evans and Hemsworth, is silly and should have stayed on social media. Instead, the media picked it up and did all it could to confirm the diagnosis.
Pratt didn’t attempt a clunky Italian accent for his upcoming “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” vocal performance, an approach that drew snickers. (Imagine the uproar had he attempted a cartoonish accent?)
When co-stars speak of Pratt it’s typically to praise him and the camaraderie he brings to the set. “Jurassic World” co-star Bryce Dallas Howard feted him for helping her land a larger payday for the franchise.
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Pratt’s on-set kindness comes when we hear horror stories from La La Land, from Bill Murray’s behavior on multiple film sets to director David O. Russell’s punishing treatment of Amy Adams while making “American Hustle.”
You can expect nothing of the sort from Pratt, but his sour press notices will continue.
He, like Tebow, is a Christian, and religious bigotry is part and parcel of both select media outlets and social media.