FACT CHECK: Did Tim Tebow Kneel During The National Anthem To Protest Against Abortion?
An image shared on Facebook claims former NFL player Tim Tebow knelt during the national anthem to protest against abortion in 2012.
There is no evidence Tebow ever kneeled during the national anthem to protest against abortion. The photo actually shows him praying before a 2011 Denver Broncos football game.
Tebow, a former NFL player and current minor league baseball player, has publicly demonstrated his Christian beliefs on numerous occasions, from genuflecting on the football field to painting bible verses into his eye black. In 2010, he appeared alongside his mother in a Super Bowl advertisement for Focus on the Family, an anti-abortion Christian organization.
The Facebook post, which features Tebow in his signature kneeling pose, uses the image to suggest that his alleged 2012 protest against abortion was received differently than former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests against racism. In late August 2016, Kaepernick refused to stand for the pre-game playing of the national anthem in protest of racism.
“He was praised by fans for being a ‘model American,’ then was given 3 new NFL contracts in addition to a Major League Baseball contract,” reads the caption. “Unlike Colin Kaepernick, who CLEARLY stated that his protest has nothing to do with the flag or military, Time (sic) Tebow specifically said he couldn’t stand for a flag that allowed for abortion. If you can’t see the hypocrisy in this then chances are you are part of the problem.”
The accompanying image does not, however, show Tebow kneeling during the national anthem. Taken by Associated Press photographer Julie Jacobson, the photo actually depicts him praying before a Denver Broncos football game against the Chicago Bears in December 2011, per its caption. Tebow is widely known for kneeling in prayer before, during and after football games.
The Daily Caller didn’t find any credible media reports of Tebow ever kneeling during the national anthem to protest abortion or any other social issue, further adding to the post’s dubiousness. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Former NFL Players Joe Namath And Al Woodall Kneeling During The National Anthem)
In June 2018, Tebow responded to a similar viral social media post in an interview with USA Today, saying, “I think that’s sometimes one of the things that’s a little bit sad is sometimes people will just try to create something that had zero truth. I never did anything during a national anthem but stand and support my country.”