That’s why the retired Warner, 40, offered a bit of advice to Tim Tebow, who’s been at the center of an ongoing debate around the country, both for his merits as a football player and his ubiquitous mentions of his faith in God.
“I’d tell him, ‘Put down the boldness in regards to the words, and keep living the way you’re living. Let your teammates do the talking for you. Let them cheer on your testimony,'” Warner told Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic, regarding advice he’d give to Tebow. “I know what he’s going through, and I know what he wants to accomplish, but I don’t want anybody to become calloused toward Tim because they don’t understand him, or are not fully aware of who he is. And you’re starting to see that a little bit.”
You certainly are, with former quarterback Jake Plummer stating on the record the feelings that many fans shout in bars and living rooms across the country. While Plummer’s assessment that Tebow should “shut up” might have been strong, the comments and ensuing discussions proved that it’s a touchy subject whenever religion gets involved with sports.
Warner knows that himself, which is why he believes Tebow should tone down his public statements of faith.
“There’s almost a faith cliche, where [athletes] come out and say, ‘I want to thank my Lord and savior,'” Warner told the newspaper. “As soon as you say that, the guard goes up, the walls go up, and I came to realize you have to be more strategic.
“The greatest impact you can have on people is never what you say, but how you live,” Warner added. “When you speak and represent the person of Jesus Christ in all actions of your life, people are drawn to that. You set the standard with your actions. The words can come after.”
Tebow, 24, likely reveres Warner a great deal, if only because he seems to revere just about everybody, including his critics. But it seems more likely in this case that Tebow will very, very, very respectfully decline Warner’s offer for help. Tebow opened his postgame media meeting Sunday by thanking Jesus Christ, and he closed the session by saying, “God bless.”