NCAA Pulls Post-Tim Tebow Pro-Life Ads From College Basketball Web Site
by Steven Ertelt
February 24, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Fresh from its successful Super Bowl television commercials featuring Tim Tebow and his mother Pam celebrating life, Focus on the Family sought to air a set of web ads on the NCAA web site. However, after some college athletic directors cried foul, the NCAA pulled the ads.
The pro-life group had a hit with the ads featuring Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow and it received more than $10 million in free publicity before the Super Bowl ads aired in front of 106 million views.
Two weeks after CBS and the National Football League were the subject of criticism from pro-abortion groups, now the NCAA is the source of controversy.
The national college sports group on Tuesday dropped web banner advertisements from Focus on the Family from its championships web site NCAA.com. The ads had been included on several CBS-managed Web sites as part of the package deal Focus purchased that included the Super Bowl ad.
The decision came after abortion advocates complained that Focus on the Family’s pro-life mission is inconsistent with the NCAA’s stated nondiscrimination policy.
"Focus on the Family did have a banner ad on NCAA.com. Today, it was decided to remove the ad from the web site as a result of concerns expressed by our membership," Bob Williams, an NCAA spokesman, said in a statement yesterday.
Gary Schneeberger, Focus on the Family’s vice president for media relations, has responded to the controversy and said the contract with CBS called for it to include Focus ads on the web sites it runs but did not specify which web pages were included.
Schneeberger said if the ads were "all of a sudden labeled hate speech, we have deeper problems in our country than we even know."
Williams told the Associated Press today that CBS officials, who accept ads for the web sites on behalf of the NCAA, reviewed the ads and did not find anything wrong when they were accepted.
The Focus web site ads don’t feature Tebow but have a father holding a young boy with the words, "All I want is for my son is for him to grow up knowing how to do the right thing."
Like the Tebow Super Bowl ads, they have the tag line "Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life."
The NCAA appears to have acted after Pat Griffin, an emerita professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who works with the NCAA as a consultant, alerted NCAA officials to concerns about the ads.
In a post that spread quickly this week on the Internet, Griffin wrote Monday that Focus on the Family "opposes a womans right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. You can bet they are in the forefront of every national and state battle over … abortion rights."
"Now they want to impose their values on the NCAA tournament and college basketball fans and the NCAA and CBS are inviting them to. They are rolling out the red carpet and I am deeply offended by the NCAAs complicity in this," Griffin added.
She argued that the ads appear to violate the NCAA’s own "Advertising and Promotional Standards" for its championships, which say advertisements from "cause-related organizations or events (e.g., National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations)" are allowed "unless the cause endorses a controversial or unacceptable viewpoint."
Ads that "Advocacy of viewpoints on controversial issues of public importance (e.g., religious beliefs, political beliefs)" are not allowed, the standards say.
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