Shutdown Corner - NFL

On Sunday, we highlighted Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch's(notes) sack of Denver quarterback Tim Tebow(notes), which he followed with some celebratory Tebowing. And, just as it was inevitable that someone would Tebow over Tebow, the offending Tebower is being taken to task for it.

Tulloch got some negative comments on Twitter about his actions, to which he replied:

Mocking Tebowing is not the same as mocking Tebow’s religion

The Twitter faithful aren't the only ones taking him to task. ESPN's Jemele Hill wrote a column about how she felt that "Tebowing" over Tebow crossed the line. Here's a snippet:

Prayer is a sacred component of any religion. Making fun of someone else's spiritual connection is on par with ridiculing them about their family. You don't have to be a Christian to get that, just someone who understands the concept of respect.

I'm a fan of Jemele Hill, but I think there's a faulty assumption at work here. Tebowing is not a religious act. Do we honestly believe that everyone here is engaged in thoughtful prayer? To me, it looks a lot more like they're participating in a goofy Internet meme.

Mocking Tebowing is not the same as mocking Tebow’s religionHere, Tim Tebow is praying. If that hadn't been turned into this, do you think Tulloch would've done it on Sunday? Of course not. He Tebowed to mock the trend, not to mock the man's faith.

Mockery has become the No. 1 form of NFL celebration. How many times has an opponent done the Dirty Bird when scoring against Atlanta? How many times has a Chargers or Jets opponent mocked LaDainian Tomlinson's(notes) touchdown signature? Hines Ward(notes), before he became enamored with his own Foxtrot, mocked opponents' celebrations constantly. Even Tony Scheffler(notes), who Tebowed himself on Sunday, also did a "Mile High Salute" in Denver.

I know first-hand that any criticism of Tim Tebow is confused by many as criticism of Tim Tebow's faith, but it's a big, big stretch to see that as what's happening here. To some people, taking a knee and bowing your head to your fist is a prayerful position. To some people, it's just taking a knee and bowing your head to your fist. And to some others, it's just a tribute to Tim Tebow the football player.

It would be a mistake to assume that what it means to you is what it means to everyone else.

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