CBS Sports is right to air Tebow abortion ad

January 27, 2010 | Drew Forrester

I love the United States of America.

I start my show at 6:07 am every single morning by reciting The Pledge of Allegiance.  I even emphasize the words “under God” because someone sent me an e-mail three or four months ago objecting to me including the Pledge in my show because I wasn’t sympathetic to the people in the audience who object to the words “under God”.  It’s not my position to alter the wording of The Pledge of Allegiance, so I don’t do it.  I recite it as it was written and taught to me at Glendale Elementary School in Glen Burnie in 1970.

In my 17 years of travels in the professional soccer business, I visited a lot of different countries and continents.  I spent time in England, Spain, Yugoslavia, Amsterdam, Finland and South Africa.  I saw a lot of beautiful places.  I played a lot of great golf courses, some of the best in the world, in fact.  But I never, ever saw or spent time in a place that I thought was better than the United States.

But somedays…I wonder what the hell has happened to our nation.

No, this is NOT another blog about the Orioles taking away my season media credential because I spoke out against their reluctance to return BALTIMORE to the road jersey.

This is about the Tim Tebow story.  And this is about shutting someone up – or attempting to, at least – for no reason other than some group of people has a burr up their butt about a particular belief or personal experience.

In case you missed it, here’s the story in a nutshell.  Tebow’s mother, Pam, came down with an illness in the Phillipines in 1987 when she was pregnant and the medication that was prescribed to her threatened the unborn fetus.  Doctors recommended she have an abortion.  Pam refused, gave birth to Tim Tebow…and the rest, as they say, is Heisman History.

Fast forward to now — Tebow is coming off of a 4-year rock star career at Florida and he’s one of the nation’s most popular college athletes.  A conservative Christian group, Focus on Family, has purchased a 30-second ad in next Sunday’s Super Bowl in which they will (quickly) highlight the story about Pam Tebow and the decision she made in 1987 that literally granted life to her son, Tim.

And people are outraged.  Make that the National Organization for Women is outraged.  The rest of America probably has enough common sense to understand that all advertising and marketing is always susceptible to the consumer’s decision to accept it and, perhaps, act on it.  Last time I checked, once that Budweiser or Pepsi ad runs, YOU have to go out and buy the product.  It doesn’t come knocking on your door saying, “Hey, it’s Budweiser here.  Can I bring in 23 of my friends and let you drink us?”

With nothing else to campaign against, NOW has decided to raise a stink about the Tebow ad on Super Bowl Sunday.  “This ad is frankly offensive,” says Erin Matson.

Keep in mind that word is now leaking out from those who have seen the ad that the words “abortion” and/or “pro-life” do not appear on the air in either spoken or graphic form.

Here’s what Drew says:  What’s offensive, Erin, is your organization forgetting the concept of free speech (although $2.8 million for the ad smacks “free speech” in the face) and, more importantly than that, completely wrecking the art of applying common sense to any practical theory that doesn’t do someone harm just because they’re exposed to an ideal or a decision like having – or not having – an abortion.  I’m offended by YOU, Erin, and your group, but also grant you full right to blabber on how about wrong it is for CBS to air the ad.  Knock yourself out, girl.

Pam Tebow’s story is simple.  She’s not saying DON’T have an abortion.  She’s saying, “I decided to have a child and look what happened in the process.  I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who has turned into an outstanding young man and fine, upstanding member of society.”

It’s up to you…me…your neighbor…etc…to make what personal evaluation you want on whether or not abortion is right.

Frankly, I don’t want to know what you think about abortion.  I’m not telling you what I think, that’s for sure.

What I do know, though, is Pam Tebow’s story is interesting and if someone wants to fork over $2.8 million to broadcast it to the world for 30 seconds, they should have the right to do that.  Common sense.  It used to rule our everyday thought.  Now, it’s on the back page of the manual we all follow for day-to-day guidance .

This isn’t about “taking sides” with the abortion supporters or the anti-abortion group.  It’s about using common sense and understanding the notion that educating people on issues goes way beyond textbooks, classes and Master’s Degrees.

Stories and experiences educate people, if you’re willing to listen.

The Pam Tebow story is very interesting.  It should give everyone reason to pause, reflect and digest the fact that whether or not you agree with someone’s position isn’t nearly as important as coming to grips with the fact that everyone has the right to tell you what their position actually is…and then you can decide for yourself if you’re willing to accept it.

And please…would all of these narrow minded people stop yapping about how “Super Bowl Sunday” isn’t the day to air a controversial ad about abortion?  Super Bowl Sunday might also not be the day to sell big boobs, websites and mischevious behavior but you can bet your 36 DD’s those ads will be aired next Sunday.

I don’t see the NOW people outraged with the flaunting of a woman’s body and the sex and sin that goes along with 50% of the ads we see on TV every Sunday in football season.  And on the flip side, I don’t see Budweiser or Coors Light speaking out against ads that denounce drinking and driving even though the mere mention of “don’t drink and drive” has the words “don’t drink” attached to it.  But both Budweiser and Coors Light use COMMON SENSE when analyzing those kinds of advertisements…”We want you to drink OUR product but we want you to do it smartly” is what they’re saying every time they DON’T picket or protest an ad purchased by Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers, for example.

The NOW group has the right to educate America on why people should have the choice to abort a fetus in the same way the Focus on Family people have the right to say, “Think about what your family might be if you decide to carry your pregnancy to full term.”

Here’s a novel concept for the NOW people.  Get out your checkbook and buy an ad.  Then tell YOUR story.

If you can’t do that, shut up and find something else to moan about.

At this point, CBS Sports is indicating they plan on airing the Pam Tebow ad next Sunday.

Good for them, I say.

It gratifies me to know they’re not going to cave in to these rabble-rousers who think just because they print up a couple of signs and threaten to create a stir that they’ll refund someone’s $2.8 million and say, “we’d rather not deal with the repercussions”.

I’m not entirely comfortable watching TV ads for women’s feminine products but I’m not planning on picketing anyone soon.

This country has unfortunately become a society of people where we’ll combat something we don’t agree with by either suing you or flaming you with hostile treatment.

Gone are the days where you can have the freedom to express yourself and allow those who come in contact with your message to determine whether or not they agree with it.

Now…we just take you to court when something doesn’t sit right with us.

Or we at least make you uncomfortable enough to give you reason to wonder if it’s really worth endorsing.

I found this out firsthand last year when a listener tried to chastise me for saying The Pledge of Allegiance every morning.

Our country doesn’t suck.

But some people in it do.

Thankfully, I still own the right to say that.

And thanks to Pam Tebow for having the courage to tell her story.

And thanks to CBS Sports for airing it.

And thanks to the people who oppose free speech for reminding me of why it’s still important to allow all of us the right to say what we want, hear what we want and act on it how we want.