By John Jalsevac
July 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last week Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow's photo may have graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, the same magazine that is best known for its annual "swimsuit issue," but the contrast between the two cover stories couldn't have been more glaring.
At 21 years of age and graced with boyish good looks, Tebow is one of the most talked about rising stars of the NCAA; but the football superstar literally left reporters speechless last week when he answered a question during a press conference about whether or not he is "saving himself" for marriage.
"Yes I am," said Tebow briefly, who then indicated he was ready for the next question. However, in the video of the press conference, a reporter is heard stumbling over his words in the background as he tries to ask a follow-up question. Tebow then laughs, obviously reacting to the reactions of the reporters in the room.
"I think y'all were stunned by that," he says. "Y'all can't even ask a question. Wow. I mean, I was ready for that question. I don't think y'all were."
It wasn't the only controversial remark that Tebow made that day. In response to another question about whether or not people may be tired of the volume of coverage devoted to the young football star, Tebow, a devout Christian, said that the level of exposure he receives is a mixed blessing. However, he said, he looks at the positive side that, thanks to his fame, he has been able to share his Christian faith with so many people.
In addition, the football star told the reporters that he believes that the publicity given to his mother's story has helped other women choose not to abort their unborn children. Tebow's mother, who serves as a Christian missionary together with her husband, was pressured to abort Tebow following a life-threatening infection she suffered while pregnant with him. Doctors pressured her to abort her son to save her own life, but she ultimately resisted the pressure and both mother and child survived the birth.
"There has been a lot of people that have been encouraged not to have an abortion because they heard the story of my mom, or they have been encouraged because they have heard me give my faith on TV or in a report or something," said Tebow.
"You know what, although there has been a backlash, oh, well. You know what, I'll deal with it if I have to. It's not a big deal to me because of the kids and people that have been encouraged by the stories we have tried to tell and by the life that I've tried to live."
Growing up Tebow would often help his parents with their Christian mission work in the Philippines. He was homeschooled by his mother, who instilled in her children strong Christian values.
Tebow was the first home-schooled athlete to be nominated for the Heisman Trophy. "That's really cool," he said at the time. "A lot of times people have this stereotype of homeschoolers as not very athletic - it's like, go win a spelling bee or something like that - it's an honor for me to be the first one to do that."