(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Florida Gators star Tim Tebow may have unwittingly stepped into the contentious legal and moral abortion debate, but the network that promises to air his controversial pro-life commercial during the Super Bowl seems to be jumping in with eyes wide open.
(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Photo: Tim Tebow.
Despite criticism that the Tebow commercial, which is funded by Christian values group Focus on the Family, might send a message offensive to pro-choice advocates, CBS says they will run the spot during the Super Bowl, but will also consider other "responsibly produced" advocacy ads in its Feb. 7 broadcast. Presumably that means pro-choice advocates could purchase equal time.
The company said Tuesday it had received numerous e-mails, both critical and supportive, since a coalition of women's groups began a protest campaign against the ad.
Photo: Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman James Dobson in 2008.
The 30-second commercial is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow's pregnancy in 1987. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child.
She later gave birth to Tim, who won the 2007 Heisman Trophy and helped the Florida Gators win two BCS championships.
CBS said Tuesday that the decision to air the Tebow ad reflected a change in its policies toward advocacy spots that has evolved over the past several years.
"We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms," said spokesman Dana McClintock. "In fact, most media outlets have accepted advocacy ads for some time."
In 2004, CBS was criticized by many liberal organizations for rejecting an ad by the United Church of Christ highlighting the UCC's welcoming stance toward gays and others who might feel shunned by more conservative churches.
CBS said Tuesday that, under its new policies, the UCC ad would have been accepted for airing.
Thirty-second commercials during the Super Bowl are selling for $2.5 million to $2.8 million.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should Tebow express his abortion views during the Super Bowl or leave his politics off the field?
MORE ON CRIMESIDER
January 26, 2010 - Tim Tebow Super Bowl Ad Drives Some Women Crazy