Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tebow cancels controversial appearance

Tim Tebow announced Thursday he will cancel his appearance at a Texas church this spring.

The former Gator and current New York Jets quarterback was scheduled to appear for the opening of a new $130 million campus for the First Baptist Church of Dallas on April 28.

However, Tebow’s planned visit sparked public outcry that centered on the church’s pastor, the Rev. Robert Jeffress, and his views on homosexuality, AIDS and Judaism.

Tebow made the announcement on his Facebook and Twitter pages to fans, saying he canceled the speaking arrangement “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

The church also released a statement Thursday about Tebow’s decision, saying Jeffress was disappointed the quarterback was no longer speaking there.

”Mr. Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time, but would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak at a future date,” the statement said.

The statement also defended Jeffress, saying his comments and views have been “grossly misrepresented” by the media.

Since the initial announcement of Tebow’s visit Sunday, his supporters have been vocal about the speaking engagement.

One supporter, Phillip Perry, a 31-year-old digital strategist and UF alumnus, created a petition on change.org asking Tebow to not attend the church’s event.

Perry said he believed Tebow’s appearance would alienate some of his fans.

“Basically, [Jeffress has] maligned almost every religion or group of people,” Perry said.

“He’s said some pretty nasty things about folks, and I just think that by Tebow going to speak there, it’s just tacitly endorsing those beliefs.”

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

The petition has received about 800 signatures as of Thursday night.

Perry said he was pleased with Tebow’s cancellation, saying he supported his tolerance and compassion.

Members of the Gainesville LGBT community seem to reflect this sentiment.

Terry Fleming, co-president of the Pride Community Center of North Central Florida, said Tebow’s decision to not speak at the church was a positive move.

“His recognition that it’s inappropriate to appear at a church with a virulently homophobic preacher is a huge step in the right direction, and we welcome that announcement,” he said.

Fleming added he supports Tebow using his media fame to be a witness to his faith and to be a model for tolerance.

“He recognizes that the First Baptist Church of Dallas does not represent that message,” he said.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.