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Tim Tebow welcomes challenge of being a role model

Once upon a time, Charles Barkley created a firestorm by telling us he was not a role model.

It was pretty heady stuff -- especially for a Nike commercial -- and it kick-started one of those classic overly earnest '90s debates on the responsibilities facing the modern professional athlete.

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Twenty years after Barkley told America, "Just because I dunk a basketball doesn't mean I should raise your kids," Tim Tebow is making it clear he wants to be seen as more than just a football player.

The New York Jets quarterback was at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Sunday, speaking at a free public event called "Father's Day 2012 -- Encouraging Men to Live, Love and Lead."

"Last time I said it, I got a lot of flak for it, but I don't care," Tebow said, according to NFL Network. "There are a lot of role models out there, just there aren't many good ones.

"To me, that's so frustrating because you have in today's society so many famous athletes in baseball and basketball and football and golf, every sport there is," he went on. "If we come together to be great role models, it would be amazing to see how the next generation turns out."

As a boy, Tebow looked up to former NFL and University of Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel, whom Tebow said openly expressed his Christian faith while setting a positive example.

"He was a huge role model for me, and that is my dream and my passion to be a great role model for the next generations and the boys who are looking up to me and their dream is to be a quarterback and a great football player," he said. "I want to be a good role model for them."

Tebow's viewpoint is refreshing, but it doesn't mean Barkley was wrong. Barkley just wanted to be a basketball player, which was his right. For Tebow, football is a vehicle for a larger agenda.

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