[Kamikaze] New Breed of Renaissance Man


Brad Franklin

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.

Previous Comments


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

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