Gene Simmons: Reporters Harass Tim Tebow, Give Troubled Athletes a Pass
KISS star Gene Simmons says sports reporters hold morally upright athletes like Tim Tebow to a different standard that those who find trouble wherever they go.
"It's interesting to me that media often picks on the good guys and lets the bad guys get a pass," says Simmons, the entrepreneurial rocker who recently expanded his empire to include a professional sports team.
Sitting down with Breitbart News in a restaurant at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., the KISS frontman explains why, in August of 2013, he and bandmate Paul Stanley decided to participate in launching a Los Angeles-area expansion team of the Arena Football League.
"We decided to get into it," he says, "because, amazingly enough, Los Angeles has no football of any kind. So we decided to go where no football or band has gone before ... where no band has gone before. I think I need to write that one down."
KISS is known for combining rock 'n' roll with extreme showmanship, and attending an LA KISS (officially Los Angeles KISS, but that's the logo) home game at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., in Orange County south of L.A., doesn't just mean watching football on the field.
As you would expect from KISS, it's also a 3-D entertainment experience.
Says Simmons, "We take the point of view that your experience of watching an LA KISS football game should be without preconditions, which is, you don't have to know anything about football, you don't have to know what the rules are, even a throw and a catch and a dive and a tackle -- you're going to see rock bands and extreme motorcycle guys, everything."
On Aug. 12, AMC premieres 4th and Loud, a docu-series about the inaugural season of the LA KISS, so those unfamiliar with arena football and the team can get a taste of the action on and off the field. But if you're looking for drugs and bad behavior, you might be disappointed.
During a press conference at the Hilton for the show--part of the biannual Television Critics Association Press Tour, going on this week and next--Simmons and Stanley talked about continuing KISS without original bandmates Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.
"There were people," said Simmons, "who were involved with this band, who, along the way, have fallen by the wayside. Being in the band from the beginning is not a birthright for you to stay there. If you no longer can uphold your end or live up to the stature that we set for ourselves in the beginning, if you are compromised by drugs or alcohol, if you've lost sight of how lucky we are to be in this position, the you no longer deserve to wear the uniform."
Along those lines, last year, the LA KISS extended a three-year contract offer to Tebow, the squeaky-clean college and NFL quarterback who was (and remains) without a team. Tebow currently has a gig with ESPN doing college-football analysis, and apparently he impressed with his debut back in January.
But according to a July 11 TMZ Sports report, the 26-year-old quarterback is still training hard to realize his dream of being an NFL quarterback.
But Simmons hasn't given up on the idea of signing Tebow even if the athlete has yet to respond to his offer.
"When you think about it," Simmons says, "why wouldn't we want somebody who's a family guy, who doesn't use expletives, who doesn't use drugs and booze, so he won't go the way those guys do, doesn't torture dogs, allegedly or otherwise, happens to believe in his God, Christianity -- what's the problem? That would be a stellar citizen."
The Heisman Trophy winner might approve of the rules Simmons sets for the LA KISS players.
"Do not flirt with our dancers," he says. "No drugs, no booze, not on the field. You can't police somebody 24 hours a day. But we have our outreach to the children's hospitals in Orange County. Our players must make appearances, raise donations, be good to the fans.
"On the day that we find that somebody's behaving unprofessionally, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, they're gone. That's why the word 'bye-bye' is in the dictionary, because one bad apple affects everything."
Asked to make a pitch to get Tebow to reconsider, Simmons says, "We can make you a bigger star than the NFL can. We're on KCAL, CBS Sports, ESPN and a reality show on AMC. No sports team of any kind has ever had that kind of coverage. Nobody touches us. We can do things; we can give you the platform that you never had. We've got to win."