When the University of Florida was planning a counter rally to white nationalist Richard Spencer, officials asked ESPN if they would allow Tim Tebow to speak there. However, according to reports, ESPN “declined on Tebow’s behalf.”
A series of behind the scenes emails chronicles the efforts that the school undertook to reply to the rally Spencer was planning. Some of those emails show the school’s attempt to get the former NFL quarterback and Florida alum to appear as a counterweight to Spencer’s message, according to a report at Huffington Post.
Some of the internal communications show Director of Student Activities and Involvement Student Affairs chief Nancy Chrystal-Green trying to get ESPN to allow its employee, Tebow, to speak.
“Chrystal-Green herself tried to enlist the help of Tebow, the former University of Florida quarterback who won a Heisman Trophy and led the Gators to two national championships,” HuffPost reported:
Tebow was in Gainesville days before Spencer’s speech for “SEC Nation,” the ESPN college football show on which he serves as an analyst. Chrystal-Green reached out to assistant athletic director Jon Rubin with “a favor to ask.”
“I’m sure you have seen the news about a white nationalist coming to speak at UF on Oct. 19,” Chrystal-Green wrote in an Oct. 6 email. “One of the things we are doing is showing a virtual assembly during the speech. We are getting in contact with famous alums asking to record a brief message of unity, togetherness, Gator Nation, etc. Obviously, a message from Tim Tebow would be a great addition. Is there an easy method by which to ask him?”
Athletic Director Jon Rubin then told Chrystal-Green to contact ESPN to see if they would allow the famed Florida alum to speak at their counter-rally.
But it was a no-go, apparently.
“The university reached out to us to gauge Tim’s involvement in recording a video with regards to the Richard Spencer event at UF, and we declined on his behalf,” and ESPN official told HuffPost.
The HuffPost writer did not ascertain as to whether or not Tebow himself was ever aware of the university’s offer.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.