O’Neill’s response ‘trivializes’ violence, says Florida columnist

February 10, 2010 | NeW Staff

If we haven’t had enough on the Tebow/NOW controversy, here’s one more article sent to us by a NeW blog reader that I found compelling.  And to top it off, it’s from my hometown newspaper, The Tampa Tribune.  Joe Henderson, a sports columnist for the Tribune responded with utter disbelief to NOW President Terry O’Neill’s comments that the Tebow Super Bowl ad promoted domestic violence.  Henderson writes,

“A statement like this actually hurts women’s causes because it comes across as irrational wide-eyed rhetoric, especially when you consider the timing.”

And this is coming from someone who is not a NOW “opponent” on all issues. Henderson explains,

“NOW fights legitimate issues and has been a strong (if occasionally strident) voice against real problems in society…This isn’t one of them.”

Henderson points to the double standard that NOW employs.  Just hours before the Super Bowl, former Buccaneer football player Warren Sapp was charged with battery against a woman.  Instead of outrage over this legitimate case of violence against a woman, NOW chose to attack an ad that told the story of a mother and son:  

“To say that Tim and Pam Tebow have glorified violence against women is worse than offensive. It’s downright stupid.”

Henderson suggests NOW focus on working towards preventing real cases of violence against women in athletics, college and professional, instead of claiming this family to be guilty of “violence against women.”

Then why would NOW oppose the ad so strongly?  According to Henderson, 

“The Tebow ad features a message to contact the group Focus on the Family, which strongly opposes abortion.”

Personally, I was surprised by just how mild the ad actually was.  It never once mentioned abortion.  It wasn’t pushy.  Instead, it was the story of a loving family with a little bit of humor.  Is this a “woman’s issue” that we should be fighting against?  Not in the least. 
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