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Notebook Sports

Good sports

Tim Tebow (Associated Press/Photo by Brynn Anderson)

Bennett Raglin/Two Ten Footwear Foundation/Getty Images

Prince and Pilar Amukamara

Alberto E. Rodriguez/KCSports/Getty Images

Russell Wilson and Ciara

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

David Luiz

John Mersits/CSM/AP

C.J. Beathard


Good sports

Athletes who follow biblical sexual ethics face media mockery 

Tim Tebow may or may not have had a certain girlfriend. And said girlfriend may or may not have dumped him for his commitment to chastity. But the matter became both fuel and fire for the New York Daily News on Nov. 26—igniting sexual puns over Tebow’s frustrated football career.

Tebow was reportedly dating model Olivia Culpo, the ex-girlfriend of singer Nick Jonas, who says he’s glad he ended his chastity pledge. Tebow—who became known for practicing abstinence after a reporter in 2009 asked him whether he would remain a virgin until marriage—reportedly met Culpo at church. An unidentified “source close to the model” told the Daily News on Thanksgiving about him “sending her love letters.” But despite his wooing, she “had to break up with him” because “she just can’t deal with the sex thing.”

Cheap jokes and one-liners followed, but it wasn’t long before other “insiders” told E! News and TMZ that sex had nothing to do with the breakup, if Tebow and Culpo ever properly “dated” at all.

But this isn’t just about Tebow. The New York Post ran deplorable puns last year after the New York Giants’ Prince Amukamara—nicknamed “The Black Tebow”—married in the 2014 offseason. Teammates joked that the practicing Catholic’s “joining the club” was why he had become more aggressive, playing with “swagger” and improved performance on the field. 

And eight years ago, New England quarterback Tom Brady’s model wife, Gisele Bundchen, blasted Pope Benedict XVI for his doctrines on virginity, birth control, and abortion. “Today no one is a virgin when they get married,” she said. “Show me someone who’s a virgin!”

Some in the press even scoff at male athletes practicing temporary sexual restraint. This summer, ESPN reporters publicly feuded on Twitter after a divorced Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks said he and singer Ciara had decided backstage one night that they would conduct their relationship “the Jesus way” and not sleep together until marriage.

This spring, reporters in Western Europe (and, yes, the New York Daily News) squabbled over soccer star David Luiz, who tweeted his baptism with references to 2 Corinthians 5:17 and celibacy. But at least one writer, Richard Holt of The Telegraph of London showed Luiz rare media respect for biblical sexual morality: “Anyone prepared to stand up and be different, especially in the testosterone-soaked world of elite sport, is to be applauded.”

The chase

The Dec. 31 national semifinals of the second NCAA College Football Playoff are set. The selection committee handed down the Orange Bowl and Cotton Bowl matchups Dec. 6 with little controversy. Coach Dabo Swinney’s No. 1 Clemson Tigers will face No. 4 Oklahoma on Dec. 31 in Miami Gardens, Fla. Later that evening, No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Michigan State will play in Arlington, Texas. The winners of those two games will face off in the national championship on Jan. 11 in Glendale, Ariz. On New Year’s Day, the Rose Bowl will feature Iowa’s homeschooled quarterback C.J. Beathard against Stanford’s Heisman contender Christian McCaffrey, both professing Christian leaders. —A.B.