It's no surprise that a Super Bowl ad would garner lots of hype and attention, but what is surprising is that this year's hype isn't over bikini-clad women selling beer or Victoria's Secret models prancing around in underwear. It's about a Heisman Trophy winner and his mom celebrating life. Go figure.
Today self-described "pro-choice" Sally Jenkins, sports columnist for the Washington Post, had a great column on the Tim Tebow ad controversy. Here's a snippet:
"Obviously Tebow can make people uncomfortable, whether it's for advertising his chastity, or for wearing his faith on his face via biblical citations painted in his eye-black. Hebrews 12:12, his cheekbones read during the Florida State game: 'Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.' His critics find this intrusive, and say the Super Bowl is no place for an argument of this nature. 'Pull the ad,' NOW President Terry O'Neill said. 'Let's focus on the game.'
"Trouble is, you can't focus on the game without focusing on the individuals who play it -- and that is the genius of Tebow's ad. The Super Bowl is not some reality-free escape zone. Tebow himself is an inescapable fact: Abortion doesn't just involve serious issues of life, but of potential lives, Heisman trophy winners, scientists, doctors, artists, inventors, Little Leaguers -- who would never come to be if their birth mothers had not wrestled with the stakes and chosen to carry those lives to term. And their stories are every bit as real and valid as the stories preferred by NOW."
Even the New York Times came out January 30 in favor of the decision by CBS to allow the ad to run, albeit for reasons of promoting so-called "reproductive choice." From the editorial:
"A letter sent to CBS by the Women’s Media Center and other groups argues that the commercial 'uses one family’s story to dictate morality to the American public, and encourages young women to disregard medical advice, putting their lives at risk' — a lame attempt to portray the ad as life-threatening. Others argue that even a mild discussion of such a divisive issue has no place in the marketing extravaganza known as the Super Bowl.
"The would-be censors are on the wrong track. Instead of trying to silence an opponent, advocates for allowing women to make their own decisions about whether to have a child should be using the Super Bowl spotlight to convey what their movement is all about: protecting the right of women like Pam Tebow to make their private reproductive choices.
"CBS was right to change its policy of rejecting paid advocacy commercials from groups other than political candidates. After the network screens ads for accuracy and taste, viewers can watch and judge for themselves. Or they can get up from the couch and get a sandwich."
To read the full Sally Jenkins column (h/t Kathryn Jean Lopez), click HERE. To read the full New York Times editorial, click HERE.