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Did Tebow Jokes Go Too Far in Charleston?

Charleston RiverDogsCharleston RiverDogs (Low A; Sally League) President and GM Dave Echols apologized for the way his team treated Columbia Fireflies outfielder and former football star Tim Tebow during a recent home series.

The issue: some of what was conceived as light-hearted ribbing may have crossed the line to mean-spirited taunting. Tebow, an outspoken Christian whose has touted his faith as central to his athletic success and became known in the NFL for Tebowing, where he prayed after he threw a touchdown pass, has certainly received plenty of feedback for his public displays of faith. Indeed, these PDFs are central to his popularity amongst fans and his unpopularity amongst detractors.

And while he might be fair game for some good-natured ribbing, the events at Friday night’s game at Riley Park generated a heavy amount of criticism both locally and nationally on social media. For instance, Charlie the RiverDog mimicked the Tebowing pose, and “The Hallelujah Chorus” was played when Tebow came up to bat. In addition, Charlie sported football-style black patches sporting “John 3:16” in white — just like Tebow did in college.

In making fun of Tebow, Echols said the RiverDogs were mocking Tebow’s celebrity status, not his faith. And some of Tebow’s treatment, such as the scoreboard displaying the names of other Fireflies as “Not Tim Tebow,” certainly was not based in anything religious. But that’s a distinction totally lost on Twitter and other social media, where it’s easier to be outraged. So Echols issued an apology, per the Charleston Post and Courier:

Dave Echols, president and general manager for the RiverDogs, said the antics were all in good fun. He said the team has gotten both positive and negative feedback from the weekend.

“While we believe that our promotions were poking fun at Mr. Tebow’s celebrity status rather than his religion or baseball career, our intent was not to offend anyone, and for the fact that we did offend, we are sorry,” Echols wrote in a statement to The Post and Courier….

“Of the many promotional pieces that we executed, there were a handful on Friday’s game that some construed as in poor taste, and we made it a focus to remove those elements and celebrate Mr. Tebow the remainder of his time in Charleston,” Echols added.

Track records count, however, and we will refer you to two stories from our archives:

RiverDogs Help Advance the Conversation

RiverDogs to Play After Charleston Tragedy

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