In light of all the negative publicity surrounding the NFL and some if their players as of late, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a few words…
To those who only see the high-stepping, touchdown-loving, flashy life of a few NFL players, I would ask you to remember this: the dedication, discipline, desire, focus, mental toughness, tenacity, aggressiveness, unwillingness to give up or let a teammate down… The hours upon hours of sweat - of early rising and late nights practicing… The ability to handle mountains of pressure, adversity and criticism… The constant pressure to perform… Playing hurt, tired and afraid… All of these qualities are something to be celebrated, not because they entertain us with a game. That’s not the point at all. The game is meaningless. These qualities are rarely obtained in any other profession besides that of the brave men and women who wear a military uniform, whom should be celebrated at 100x that of the NFL players.
These are qualities that build leaders, CEO’s and philanthropists. These are qualities that develop nations and build foundations for democracy and freedom. These are qualities that are so difficult to obtain and even harder to duplicate. These are the qualities essential to taking every last bite out of life that you can. It will never be perfect. It can’t be. There will always be those that will criticize, fall short and fail to recognize the power that they hold in their hands. But there will also be those who fall short and stand back up - only to realize that they can stand taller than ever before - that they can make an impact on generations of people and inspire them to true greatness regardless of the path they choose - be it a doctor, a farmer, a lawyer, a politician, or an aid worker. I believe that the qualities learned in this game can serve as a literal Playbook for a successful life and which can translate to millions regardless of sex, race, religion or location.
What an amazing opportunity for the NFL and the NFL players. At no other time in modern history has their been such a platform and opportunity for change. The time is right now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. Right. Now.
I heard a lot of talk on policy from NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell - and that’s good - but we all need to talk more about perspective. The qualities I outlined above are what makes our country great. They serve as the backbone for everything we stand for and all that is right. It’s time for the NFL to stand on this truth and make an impact for the benefit of social change.
It can happen because it’s happened before. Our country has stood in the face of adversity in countless points throughout history only to prove a level of resiliency beyond understanding because of our appreciation and respect for these truths. It’s time for the NFL Players to recognize this. To stand up - to see that the movement they can pioneer is one that will far outlast the game and their ability to play it. The game is simply a vehicle to deliver a message. And it’s a message - a movement - that can inspire generations of nations.
So I’m often asked if I would let my son play football. My answer is always the same: if he chooses to play, there’s no chance I’ll stand in his way.