Tim Tebow is still giving fiery speeches, but this time it’s to push back against college athletes getting paid.
The California Senate recently passed a bill that would allow student-athletes to be paid for use of their name, likeness and image.
The bill was passed unanimously and is pending approval from California Governor Gavin Newsom.
Many fans and professional athletes, such as LeBron James, have supported and advocated for student-athletes to be paid, but the NCAA has tried to fight back against the bill. Now, they have an ally in Tebow.
The 32-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner, who is currently a minor league outfielder with the New York Mets, joined ESPN’s “First Take” on Friday and blasted the bill.
“When I was at the University of Florida, I think my jersey was one of the top-selling jerseys around the world. It was like, Kobe, LeBron and I was right behind them, and I didn’t make a dollar from it, but nor did I want to,” Tebow said. “I knew going into college what it was all about. I knew going to Florida, my dream school, where I wanted to go, the passion for it. And if I could support my team, support my college, my university — that’s what it’s all about.”
Tebow also pointed toward “selfish culture” as the reason for the outcry over paying student-athletes.
“But now we’re changing it from us, from we, to my university from being an alumni — where I care, which makes college football and college sports special — to then, it’s not about us, it’s not about we, it’s just about me,” he said. “I know we live in a selfish culture where it’s all about us, but we’re just adding and piling it on to that; where it changes what’s special about college football. We turned it into the NFL where who has the most money, that’s where you go."
Tebow, like many college football players, did not last long in the NFL. He played just three seasons, earning $2.97 million, per Spotrac. Since leaving football he has since taken jobs at ESPN and began playing minor league baseball in 2016.
Not all athletes are as fortunate as Tebow, though, but he continued to detail why college athletes should not be paid.
“That’s why people are more passionate about college sports than they are about the NFL," he said. "That’s why the stadiums are bigger in college than they are in the NFL because it’s about your team, you university, where my family wanted to go. It’s about where my grandfather had a dream of Florida winning an SEC Championship and you’re taking that away so young kids can earn a dollar. There’s that opportunity in the NFL but not in college football.”