This past October, the school was engaged in a controversy surrounding noted white nationalist Richard Spencer, who was going to speak on campus. The school originally declined the request but eventually allowed it, fearing lawsuits.
To combat Spencer’s message, Nancy Chrystal-Green, Florida senior director of student engagement, helped plan a counter-approach, which included a video that would feature a cameo from Tim Tebow.
ESPN, though, reportedly declined making the star quarterback available.
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?”
Rubin told Chrystal-Green to reach out to ESPN public relations officials about Tebow’s availability. An ESPN spokeswoman told HuffPost, “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.”