For years, people have said that Tim Tebow was "too good to be true." Heisman Trophy winner, Ok. BCS winner (twice), Ok. Sincerely nice guy. Seriously?
The list of "nice" when it comes to Tebow is almost too long to fathom.
If being a devout Christian wasn't enough, Tebow actually serves on missionary trips to the Philippines.
He seriously visits hospitals and has kids stricken with disease join him on the field? This is too much.
Still a virgin? Yeah, right.
Last week, the would of cynicism thought it had it's "smoking gun on Tebow."
ESPN New York first reported that Tebow had then asked out of the wildcat, and a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed that to The Associated Press. And the cynics pounced.
ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge said, "I think he's phony as a three dollar bill.
"At the end of the day, what have I heard? That he would do anything at any time. 'You ask me to do it, I'll do it.' All of a sudden now it's 'I want to play quarterback or I'm not going to play Wildcat'? There shouldn't even be this story coming.
"He said 'I'll do anything for the team.' That's all I've ever heard about him. I think shows what he's really about."
Others said Tebow's alleged actions let his team down.
Fans rushed to support their hero. Tebow even came to his own defense later.
"I never said, 'Hey, I don't want to do anything or I won't do anything,'" Tebow said. "That wasn't the talk at all. He knows that, and everybody on this team knows that. I'd never not do something if I was asked, and I think that's what's disappointing about the whole situation, people saying, 'You quit,' or, 'You didn't do this.' It was not it at all.
"It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn't me asking out of anything."
The damage has been done. Tebow has spent a lifetime building a reputation, and yet it took less than a week for many to discount all of that.
The should be a lesson to Tebow and others about the fragility of a reputation. While his intentions might have been pure, he set himself up for the damage to be done by not being absolutely clear.
Certainly we all can move forward after this, but things will never be the same. It reminds me of another story concerning reputation...
A young man started an untrue rumor about the pastor of his church. The young justified the action in his mind, but eventually his conscience got the best of him.
Apologetically, the young man approached his pastor. He confessed his actions and asked forgiveness. The past told the your man in order to make up for the action, he would have to perform a couple of tasks for him.
"Most definitely," he said.
"Take this bag of nails and nail every one of them into the fence post at the edge of the church property."
The young man took the nails and hammered each and every one into the post, just as instructed.
"I did it," he said.
"Now go take them all out."
Again, the young man eagerly did as he was told.
"They are all out," he said.
"Now fill in the holes."
"I can't. The damage has already been done."
David Specht Jr. is Vice President of Specht Newspapers, Inc. and Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. View his blog at www.DavidASpecht.com.