As Phony as a Three Dollar Bill?

“As phony as a three dollar bill.”

That’s the value of Tim Tebow’s character, according to ESPN analyst Merril Hoge.

Hoge’s criticism followed a report from anonymous sources that Tebow had refused to play in the wildcat offense for the New York Jets on Sunday because he was frustrated about being passed over for the starting quarterback position.

Hoge continued with his thrice-themed attacks: the Tebow situation, he said, “smells like three day-old fish.”

Tebow, however, refuted the report that he quit on his team: 

“I never said, ‘Hey, I don't want to do anything or I won't do anything'. That wasn't the talk at all. [Rex Ryan] knows that and everybody on this team knows I would never not do something if I was asked.”

Coach Rex Ryan backed him up, confirming that he was the one made the decision not to play Tebow in the wildcat.

But criticism of Tebow quickly escalated from playing ability to attacks on his character: Jay Hart of Yahoo! Sports tells us just how far the critics are reaching to attack Tebow:

"It's barely a scrap, if that, for holier than Tebow critics who have been foaming at the mouth to dig up a granule of dirt on the man ever since he announced he was still a virgin."

You have to wonder, would Hoge make such definitive statements about Tom Brady or Peyton Manning based only on anonymous sources?

Hoge and the anonymous sources behind this report are the ones starting to smell like “three day old fish.”

My Dad was immediately very worked up on Tebow's behalf:

         "As soon as I heard this story what was immediately obvious and disturbing was the reference to 'anonymous sources', as if these sources were somehow reliable sources for this report. Anonymous sources? Who are these people and why are they considered reliable and credible? They shouldn't be. If one isn't going to identify oneself by name with a report of this nature and content then one isn't taking responsibility for this report and making themselves accountable. And if one isn't willing to be publicly accountable then they shouldn't be quoted. Anonymous sources are not credible sources and in fact this form of reporting not only lacks integrity it is cowardly as well."

A few days later Tebow expressed his disappointment for the attacks on his character:

“For people to not know the situation and to bash your character and say you're a phony, you're a fake and you're a hypocrite, I think that's what's disappointing and that's what's frustrating. It's a football game. That's one thing, if you're good or bad at football, but your character and integrity, that's who you are as a man.” 

Proverbs 22:1 says: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.”

This verse explains what the media doesn’t seem to get about Tim Tebow. Character is more important to Tebow than being a starting quarterback.  Honoring God means more to him than having a successful season. 

"Ultimately, character is more important than reputation” explains John Kitchen in his commentary on Proverbs. “You can control your character (by God's grace), but your reputation is not always within your power."

Wise words from Mr. Kitchen. By God's grace Tebow has been giving attention to his character since he became a Christian. And he will need God’s grace as talking heads, fueled by anonymous sources, continue to try to claw away at his reputation.

I’m sure Tim Tebow would be the first to admit that he is not flawless. He knows he is a sinner in need of a Savior. You don’t need anonymous sources with Tebow. Just ask him straight up. But Tebow has conducted himself impressively as he has been mistreated and maligned by the Jets and by the press.

No doubt these “phony as a three-dollar bill” type attacks will continue. But as Tebow continues to walk in integrity, by the grace of God, he will prove the attacks, and not his character, to be phony.

May God give him grace to continue to display true character, only possible because of the gospel of Jesus Christ.