The NFL’s Price of Humility

Humility comes at a price for us all, some more expensive than others. This summer I had the opportunity to partake in two programs offered by the NFL with the hopes of learning more and advancing my journalistic endeavors. Those two programs were the Sports Journalism Program at Bowling Green University as well as the Broadcast Bootcamp at NFL Films. During those courses I shared the room with NFL Players retired and active, Superbowl Champions to guys lucky enough to have experienced the playoffs.

The one constant all of us came to understand is that the grasp of humility is something that we must all come to terms with to be successful after we finish what might be the highest paid temp job we will ever have to find ourselves working our way from the bottom up …. again.

Last week at NFL Films for my opportunity to record an editorial I chose to speak on “The Patriot Way.” At the time, Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez had just been questioned by police and the Patriots had been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Former Patriot Chad Johnson was being given jail time and then there was the release of defensive tackle Kyle Love because of his bought with diabetes. I could go on but why? Why indeed?

Why do some NFL players make the decisions that we make at times? In Aaron Hernandez’ case why would this young man who just signed a multi-million dollar contract put his career in jeopardy.  Over the past week the life of Hernandez has been played out in numerous media outlets, learning of the tragic loss of his father, to his troubles at the University of Florida and now to his troubles as an Ex-Patriot star charged with murder.

lamar campbell 350I have played with and against NFL players who have come from rough backgrounds filled with violence and mayhem. Most of the media would not report it, but many of those players have become some of the most model citizens you could ever want to meet. This is a young man that had Tim Tebow as a roommate and Urban Myer whom I consider a great leader as his coach.

I will be the first to admit that ego mixed with confidence are keys to success when competing during game day on Sundays. Learning to turn it off and managing the ego are the keys to success in life outside of the arena. Putting pride aside is just the first step, learning the humility of your situation gives you the power to overcome it. When bad things happen you can go in two directions. You can take an approach that you have been humiliated by life and have become a victim or you can take something from it, learn and grow. When you are mentally prepared to put aside your old ways for the new ways or can achieve true success.  In Hernandez’ case  “The Patriot Way” should have been a lesson in humility.

Pride can place  NFL athletes in a position to make bad decisions and when we do  the media attention is significant. We have to accept the spoils as well as the responsibilities of the position of professional athlete.  High risk equals high reward and high plateaus can lead to costly falls in the path toward humility. For 23 year old Aaron Hernandez the cost is $40 million, fatherhood, respect, career and, most importantly, freedom.

For more about LaMar click here to visit his Insider Bio page.

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