Wednesday, April 28, 2010
If you're an avid fan of the NFL, then you were probably glued to your TV this past weekend as the 2010 draft unveiled America's newest millionaires. The draft always holds a few surprises, and after 72 hours of picks, a few players are always left who have yet to be picked up by a pro team. The stories, and the players, are different. There's the athlete whose checkered past made him a pariah to NFL squads. There's the athlete who doesn't quite have the "speed" or the "strength" to play pro football.
And then there's Myron Rolle. The Florida State cornerback wasn't the best defensive back in college last year. He didn't have great stats, and his team had a less than stellar year by Seminole standards. However, Rolle's story is one that bears repeating.
Rolle went late in the draft not particularly due to physical attributes but because, in my opinion, he was a man with a bigger vision. See, Rolle is a Rhodes scholar, one of only 32 collegians chosen worldwide each year to study in Oxford, England. Rolle, who one day hopes to be a neurosurgeon, took a year off from football to study abroad. And that decision apparently has peeved some purists. In pre-draft interviews, Rolle's "commitment" was questioned. Some coaches even asked him how it felt to "desert" his team during the season.
So now we're penalizing student-athletes for putting the "student" part first? What a great example you're setting, NFL; great precedent there.
America seems to like its athletes (and musicians, apparently) monolithic and dumb. We want them to entertain us, and any attempt to get outside of that stereotypical box that we've been placed in is met with trepidation.
Rolle doesn't "need" football. He wants to play, yes, but he has chosen not to be defined solely by an oblong pigskin.
He is part of the new breed of renaissance men: African American males who do several things well; who are well versed and successful in many areas. Rolle doesn't want you to call him the football player who happens to be a Rhodes scholar, but the Rhodes scholar who happens to play pro football. There is a substantial difference.
Methinks America likes our black athletes of average intelligence, coming from single-parent homes in the "hood," who could only see success if they played football or rapped.
That's a more comfortable scenario.
It hits home because it seems no matter what I do—whether it's my radio show, or this column; whether its my work with Farish street or my entrepreneurial endeavors—there are those who still only see me as a "rapper." Not knowing my experiences or background, they still pigeonhole me as "that rapper." My boss gets questioned for hiring "a rapper." Folks refuse to see anything else.
Myron Rolle, congratulations for being drafted by The Tennessee Titans. You'll have a great career. But kudos mostly for sticking it in the face of naysayers, for proving what being a college student is ultimately supposed to mean: getting an education.
When you do decide to hang up your cleats, you've got plenty to fall back on.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.
I'm definitely proud of Mr. Rolle. He's not one of those athletes you hear about getting arrested for doing something stupid and embarrassing himself and his university. It also proves that not all athletes are in college only to play ball. For anyone to even question Mr. Rolle's dedication need to have their heads examined. I'm sure he didn't want to leave his teammates behind (though he was coming back), but when such a prestigious opportunity comes along, what was he supposed to do, not take it?
- golden eagle
Enjoyed the read. I too felt Myron Rolle's story was very interesting. It would appear that anyone who has heard of this young man's story concerning him being a Rhodes scholar chosen to study abroad will understand that his commitment to education outweighs all things football-related. I believe the NFL understands this but in the spirit of the draft the announcers do not care about grade point averages.
- Don Smith
Tried to blog this. but something went wrong and they are still pending so....PLS READ The Jackson Progressives, Jackson Free Press, Jackson Downtown Neighborhood Association, and several other entities have joined forces for the 1st Annual Downtown Cinco De Mayo Celebration: Celebration of Jackson's Diversity. WEDNESDAY, MAY 5th beginning at 5:30pm at DREAMZ JXN. 426 Capital (One Block From the Historic King Edward Hotel). ADMISSION IS FREE! THATS RIGHT, FREE! until 9 p.m. Music, Mexican food and YOU! This will be an annual event created specifically to reach out to our city's uniqueness. Embracing our ever growing Latino and Hispanic communities and birthing an event that will bring diverse partygoers from all backgrounds together under one roof for good times, good food, and music.If you havent seen Dreamz, youre missing a new downtown spectacle. There are three levels, 20 Big Screens, pool tables, a kitchen, and thousands of square feet of fun. The venue is dedicated to embracing all that is great in downtown and offering Jacksonians a diverse line-up of events. Already confirmed is Blues Great Jesse Robinson, The El Potrillo Band and a slew of other performers. DJ Reign will spin the best in dance music, and we'll have AUTHENTIC MEXICAN FOOD coming fresh out of our kitchen. Please pass this e-mail on to friends, family, co-workers, and colleagues. We hope to see you all there at this event we hope will grow to be as huge as the St. Paddy's Parade.