A million dollars is a lot of money to pay someone for “proof” of someone else’s non-virginity, but that’s what’s considered a hot news item today. Apparently, a lot of people are so irritated over the claim that football star Tim Tebow is a virgin, that disproving it has become some sort of cause.

While it ought to amaze me that there is so much interest in the sex life (or lack thereof) of a football player, it is not surprising, because sex has become so thoroughly politicized that something like this becomes a “right versus left” issue, with “conservatives” supposedly lined up on the “he’s a virgin!” side of the narrative, while “liberals” are on the other side (if side is the right word).

The narrative is a bit more complicated than being “for” or “against” virginity itself. This also involves credibility. Because this man is a young studly-looking type and not Mother Teresa, liberals are the skeptics, and conservatives are the believers.

Believers in what? In the truth of what the man said? Is it possible that both sides are believing what they want to believe and are not even bothering with details?

It seems to me that before we get to the belief or skepticism stage, it ought to be determined exactly what is at issue, and precisely what the man said. I’m not new to Google, and I wasted enough time looking for the actual statement from Mr. Tebow that I am convinced that regardless of what people have inferred, he never said he was a virgin. Yet there is an overwhelming consensus — on both “right” and “left” of this vital national issue — that he did state that he was a virgin.

Alas, I can only find one source. An AOL reporter named Clay Travis asked the following question, which was recorded:

Are you saving yourself for marriage?

As best as I can transcribe it, laughing before and after his answer, Tebow answered this way.

ha ha ha uh good, yah huh huh huh! [pause] um but yes I love throwing verse one high speed posts um no, uh, yes, I am.

At least, that’s what I heard. Here’s the Youtube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HS8qqNnR3aM&feature=player_embedded#!

And here’s another transcription which provides a bit more context for the question and came up with a slightly different version of his answer:

Travis: Tim, you’ve worn your religion on your sleeve, the mission trips, everything else, I think that’s amazing, very popular in the South and all over the country, to people even though you’re beating the crap out of their teams on the field, I know personally, and a lot of people do. (Tebow laughs.) Are you saving yourself for marriage?

Tebow: (Laughs) Good question. (Room laughs) But, yes, I love throwing versus One High, Speed Post—um, no. Yes, I am.

OK, whichever transcript is correct, neither would never hold up in any court of law as a statement by the man that he is a virgin. He may well be a virgin (depending on definitions), but that is a different issue. When a million dollars is at stake, more specificity is required than a narrative based on an interpretation of a less than unambiguous answer to a less than unambiguous question.

“Are you saving himself for marriage?” and “Are you a virgin?” are two different questions.

Even if someone can prove the man has had sex at some point in his life, that does not mean he cannot save himself for marriage.

(I’d say that “right now I’m saving myself for the weekend” but that might be misinterpreted.)