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Clay Travis's Question About Tim Tebow's Sexual Experience Was Inappropriate

A much more successful blogger than myself asked a question of Tim Tebow (while he was at the podium) at SEC Media Days that he had previously bragged that he was going to ask.  He asked if Tim Tebow was saving himself for marriage.  Tebow's answer, after a little joking around, was "Yes, I am."

Though the Great Tebow was not bothered by the question, a lot of reporters in the audience apparently were.  I can really understand why.  Before Tebow took the podium, Clay Travis had gone on the WJOX show The Roundtable and announced that he would ask this question.  After asking the question, he went on Paul Finebaum's show and explained that it was a legitimate question because Mr. Tebow is very open about his religious beliefs.  He cited the Britney Spears example, which he later characterized as "a lie".*

I suppose he thought the topic of Tim Tebow's sex life was a natural extension of the topic of Tim Tebow's religion.  I have a problem with this on several levels:

1.  Sex is not synonymous with religion.  I am far, far from being a Biblical scholar, but I know enough about the subject to know that while the very religious tend to support pre-marital abstinence more than the average person, there really is very little Biblical support for the proposition that sex before marriage is wrong.  This article attempts to explain how knowing someone in the Biblical sense without marriage is immoral in the Biblical sense, but to believe that you have to torture 1 Corinthians 7:2, which says, "But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband."  Apparently, all other Biblical references to sexual immorality in the Bible are, by extension of this passage, a condemnation of sex before marriage.  And I would submit that if you actually put that section in context, it would become even less clear, and if you read all of 1 Corinthians 7, you might be very surprised at some of the things you find.

2.  Sexual ethics are not synonymous with morality.  Certain elements of our culture equate a person's morality with his or her sexual ethics (particular "her" sexual ethics).  Clay Travis seems to believe that because Tebow is so frequently associated with being an upstanding person and a decent guy, we deserve to know whether or not his sex life is consistent with that image.  If Tebow's answer would have been, "No, I sleep with lots of beautiful women all the time," would that mean he is somehow not a charitable person?  Not a kind person?  Not a giving person?  Not an honest person?  Those questions are entirely unrelated.

A few years ago, before the world decided that Jessica Simpson was a whore, the world had decided that she was a wonderful person because she waited until marriage to have sex with her then-husband Nick Lachey.  This image endured despite the fact that her television show, produced by her own father, showed her to be shallow, selfish, virtually completely uneducated, and vain.  Around this time, I happened to pick up a magazine in the grocery store that had the results of a quiz, "Who is better?  Jessica Simpson or Lisa Simpson?"  Responses talked about how Jessica Simpson was such a great role model.  The answer perplexed me, because I personally think Lisa Simpson makes a great role model and Jessica Simpson was a poor role model, until I realized that this was about the sex thing.  It struck me how much the question of young people's sex lives seems to be the determining factor in whether or not they are considered to be good people, to the exclusion of things like charity, kindness, honesty, self-improvement and other things I consider to be a lot more important.

This is to say that we don't need to know what Tim Tebow does with his penis to form our own conclusions about whether or not he is a moral person.

3.  It's a private matter in a different way than religion is a private matter.  Clearly Tebow has no qualms about discussing his religion, but that's an entirely different matter from being open about one's sexuality.  Many people, myself included, consider religion to be a private matter.  Many people also consider sexuality to be a private matter.  Some people consider religion to be something to proclaim publicly.  Some people consider sexuality something to proclaim publicly.  The problem is that the people who consider religion to be a public matter and the people who consider sexuality to be a public matter are not necessarily the same people.  While Tebow was comfortable with the question, it would not necessarily have been that way.

4.  The purpose of the question was not to explore religion, but rather to bring attention to Clay Travis.  I mean, really.  If it was an honest question, why go on radio and brag about how you're going to ask the question?  If it was about his religion, the question would have been a little more oblique, i.e., "How have your religious beliefs affected the choices you've made in your private life?"  Also, if it was about religion, it would have been asked in a private moment, and not while Tebow was trapped behind a podium in front of a bunch of adult men, men who would be most likely to be made uncomfortable by the topic.

5.  While Mr. Travis believes it was OK to talk about it with Tebow because it was OK to talk about it with Britney Spears, but I believe it was not right to talk about it with Britney Spears.  First, Clay Travis states unilaterally that Britney Spears lied about her sexual activity, but as I recall the first time she ever discussed that particular topic occurred when she was about 16, and all the Kevin Federline crap happened when she was about 22 or 23, but I'm not about to research it to figure out if that's right.  The point is that Britney Spears' sex life at 16 may not have been anything like it was half-a-dozen years later.  It seems fundamentally strange to me to say that because everyone knew she wasn't a virgin at 24, she must have been lying about it when she was 16.  When the public focused on her sex life, it was sexist and wrong, not to mention more than a little bit creepy and weird.  Asking it of Tebow is sexist in a different way, because grown men are supposed to chase the ladies, which was of course the point of the question, but even if you disagree with it being sexist, it was at least creepy, weird, and wrong.

In the end, I suppose, Poseur was wrong.  Something interesting happened, but at least it was manufactured news and not real news.