Has polarizing football player Tim Tebow gotten a raw deal in the press because of his religious beliefs? And would he be treated more respectfully if he were not Christian, and specifically, Muslim? Gene Simmons thinks so.
“He’s got a religious passion, as well he should, we’re in America,” the KISS frontman told Radio.com earlier this week. “He’s proud to be a Christian, what’s wrong with that? And yet, with sports media and pop culture media, they make fun of his religion. Really? In America? If he was wearing a burqa, they wouldn’t dare say anything [editor’s note: only Muslim women wear burqas]. But if you’re a Christian, you get to be picked on? What the hell? The guy’s got family values. I never saw the media picking on Michael Vick for torturing dogs. Or this other football player, who’s alleged to have killed, committed murder. That’s ‘cool.’ But a guy who’s religious and has got family values isn’t ‘cool?’ He’s cool to me.”
As has been widely reported, Simmons and his KISS bandmate Paul Stanley are now co-owners of a new Arena Football League team, to be called LA KISS. And Simmons wasted no time drawing attention to the expansion team (which will begin playing in 2014), extending a very public offer to quarterback Tim Tebow, who after a brief up-and-down career in the NFL, was released by the New England Patriots a few weeks ago.
In an interview focusing on the new oral history of KISS, Nothing To Lose (more on that to come), Simmons addressed the situation with the man who he hopes will be the KISS QB.
“We haven’t heard back from Tim,” Simmons said. “He’s considering this seriously; he’s in Los Angeles. Right after this, I’m gonna fly back with our guys and try to sit down with him and tell him that we’re serious about this. He’ll get the respect here that he didn’t get at the NFL.”
Simmons may relate to Tebow on that level: he has always taken issue with the music media (notably Rolling Stone) for not treating KISS seriously, which he addresses in Nothing To Lose. But the treatment that he feels Tebow has received makes him particularly incensed: “They’re a**holes. And they should be called to task, and they should lose their license, because in a very real way, as far as I’m concerned, it’s slander and defamation. You’re making fun of somebody’s religion.”