The media often has chastised Tim Tebow for boldly expressing his Christianity in public. Recently, Tebow surprisingly got a vote of support from a brash individual of another sort—KISS frontman Gene Simmons.
Simmons, who along with bandmate Paul Stanley is co-owner of the LA KISS—a new Arena Football League team—told Radio.com that Tebow has only been picked on because of his Christian beliefs and that it would be a different story if he were of another religion.
“He’s got religious passion, as well he should. We’re in America,” Simmons told Radio.com. “He’s proud to be a Christian. What’s wrong with that? And yet, with sports media and pop culture media, they make fun of his religion. Really? In America?
“If he was wearing a burqa [an outer garment worn by women in some Islamic countries to cover their bodies when in public], they wouldn’t dare saying anything. The guy’s got family values. I never saw the media picking on Michael Vick for torturing dogs. Or this other football player [Aaron Hernandez], who’s alleged to have killed, committed murder. That’s ‘cool.’ But a guy who’s religious and has got family values isn’t cool? He’s cool to me.”
The LA KISS will begin playing in the Arena Football League in 2014. Simmons and Stanley recently made a public offer to Tebow to come and play quarterback for them next year. The New England Patriots released Tebow, the former Heisman Trophy-winner and two-time national championship quarterback at the University of Florida, prior to the start of the NFL season.
Simmons says he hasn’t heard from Tebow following the offer but that he knows Tebow has been in Los Angeles and may be mulling over the possibility.
“I’m going to try to sit down with him and tell him that we’re serious about this,” Simmons says. “He’ll get the respect that he didn’t get in the NFL.”
On Monday afternoon, Jacksonville Jaguar fans held a three-hour, 16-minute rally (supposedly to match one of Tebow's favorite scriptures, John 3:16) to help encourage the Jaguar front office to sign Tebow to a contract. Jacksonville has lost its first two games this season and has scored a combined 11 points with quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne.
Jacksonville's attendance has been sub-par in recent years and the Jaguars would appear to be a good fit for Tebow considering Jacksonville's proximity to Gainesville, home to the University of Florida.
Tebow spent his first two NFL seasons with the Denver Broncos, leading them to a playoff victory in 2011. He was traded to the New York Jets in 2012 and joined the Patriots as a free agent prior to exhibition season earlier this summer. A mediocre exhibition season led to his release in August.
Simmons, who told Radio.com that he feels like the music media has treated KISS with the same disrespect Tebow has received from the mainstream media, says he’s disillusioned with how Tebow has been treated.
“You’re making fun of somebody’s religion,” he says. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s slander and defamation.”
Simmons says he and Stanley don’t plan to be subtle about drawing attention to their team. Their plan is to add entertainment to every football game, with “people rappelling from the roof, fireworks,” and a free KISS concert, among other things. Tebow may not be the only big-name player the LA KISS will attempt to sign.