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Nothing wrong with Tebow Super Bowl ad

By Roland S. Martin, CNN Political Analyst
  • Football star Tim Tebow appearing in a Super Bowl ad relating to abortion issue
  • Roland Martin says controversy over the ad is off base
  • He says Tebow has the right to express his religious views
  • Martin: We should applaud Tebow for having strong beliefs

Editor's note: Roland S. Martin, a CNN political analyst, is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith," and the forthcoming book, "The First: President Barack Obama's Road to the White House." He is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host of a one-hour Sunday morning news show.

(CNN) -- There is no rule anywhere in existence that says that the Super Bowl should be free of politics and social causes. None. So what's the big deal over Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother starring in a pro-life ad?

This is one of those stupid debates we see too often these days. And frankly, the folks who make a big stink about this bring far more attention to the issue than it deserves.

Tebow has always been a fervently religious guy. As a Christian, he takes seriously the admonition of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19 to "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The Christian faith calls on believers to spread the word of God. There is nothing wrong with that.

As a paying entity, Focus on the Family has a right to spend the $2.6 million it will cost to air the ad anyway they please. Had Tebow and his mom joined with Focus on the Family to do an ad asking for more donations for Haitian relief, funding missionary work in nation's across the world, or even asking Christians to unite and pray daily for America, would people be up in arms? Not at all. He would be hailed as the All-American kid he has been routinely portrayed as over his stellar career.

The criticism isn't unique. For many folks, they would rather Christians treat their faith like a buffet: Take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, ignore this and that, and go on your merry way.

But Tebow chooses to live his life differently and that should be just fine.

What I found hilarious was Planned Parenthood cutting an ad featuring two athletes responding to Tebow. Why? If you didn't have the common sense to advertise your point of view before the Tebow faux controversy, why now?

At the end of the day, there is nothing insensitive about the Tebow ad. There will be any number of ads airing before, during and after the broadcast, and we might remember some of them. Yet we are likely to forget most of them.

Video: Which ads topped Super Bowl?

It's great for advertisers to hype the ads shown as if there are two Super Bowls. But let's be serious; all folks will care about Sunday will be the contest on the field between the Colts and the Saints. Ads do not make the game. The game makes the game.

Lastly, for those folks who assert that Tebow is hurting his potential NFL career by taking a social stand, please stop. I'm sick of athletes today who care more about the paycheck than using the platform God gave them for good.

We regard Muhammad Ali as not only The Greatest in the ring, but also as a major humanitarian. What he did as a man in standing up for his faith and convictions still resonates today.

We celebrate Roberto Clemente as a Hall of Famer in baseball, but he died in 1972 trying to deliver humanitarian aid in earthquake ravaged Nicaragua. Jim Brown is arguably the greatest NFL running back ever, yet it is his work in trying to keep gang members from killing each other that deserves our admiration.

Instead of slamming Tebow, let's thank him for being an athlete who shows more conviction in his personal life, rather than being convicted of a crime in a courtroom.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Roland Martin.