It's tough not to feel sorry for Tim Tebow. He looks like a man but his handlers treat him like a child.
The most recently reported instance of this is the widely-reported request on the part of Tebow, Incorporated that a Broadway actress remove this photograph from her Twitter account because it did not jive with the quarterback's "image".
Tebow is doing nothing inappropriate in the photo. Nobody else is, either. But, it the halls of Tebow Inc there is no patience for anything even the slightest bit risque. Tim's carefully crafted persona is the company's most prized asset. It will be protected by means neccesary.
Tebow attended the musical Rock of Ages and was photographed with scantily clad members of the cast backstage after the show. This was deemed unacceptable by his handlers who contacted one of the actresses, Neka Zang, and asked her not to show the photos to anybody. Zang tweeted: “Well, Due to Tebow’s ‘image’ I was asked to remove the pic of him with us half dressed ladies. He does know we arn’t real strippers right?”
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio made this comment: "by so carefully trying to micromanage his image, Tebow (or the people working on his behalf), may end up damaging his image as an authentic, down-to-earth guy."
Florio's right. It's a terrible shame that Tebow can't be allowed to be himself - to be his own man. Too many people have too much invested in him and in his future for him to break the chains of fame that he has been bound by.
His fame is so highly valued that he has no leeway as a human being. Every one of his flaws with be magnified as the years progress. Nobody is perfect but Tim Tebow must appear to be.
He's famously a virgin. He has to continue to be one, too. Even his becoming involved a healthy, loving, normal male / female relationship would be seen as scandalous.
In order to keep his reputation shielded, Tebow Inc will force Tim to keep too many secrets - and - when some of them are eventually revealed (as secrets sometimes are) - it will blow up in his face.
Tony Romo doesn't need to concern himself with such disasters. Peyton Manning doesn't either. Nor do most people.
But - the way Tebow is being marketed gives him and the people who count on him zero wiggle room.
They are bringing an inevitable public relations nightmare onto themselves.