With the pending draft in two days and the future of many men waiting in the balance, the choices these men make will ultimately decide their career futures. A game they’ve played since they began walking, will turn some into millionaires, changing their world in an instant. Never was there a truer statement than when the late Notorious B.I.G. uttered, “more money, more problems.” Money may change, and theoretically cure, numerous disadvantages and problems, but it also causes just as many, if not more. The allure and chase of the almighty dollar brings forth a plethora of family, friends, and strangers alike, who all have issues and need help. Coupled with an unyielding sense of responsibility, wanting to save and help all those who sacrificed and paved the way to make this moment happen, how is a 22 year old young man who has never had to manage a checkbook, let alone a multi-million dollar portfolio, supposed to adequately handle this new life? Let’s not forget that he is embarking on a new career with its own set of pressures also tied to the millions that are being paid and the expectations of a profitable return on that dollar.
Parents, whether you’re grooming the next Peyton Manning or the next Joseph Lister, please take heed to the trappings associated with the business of professional sports. It can be as glamorous or heart-wrenching as those involved make it. There are hundreds of examples about the men who’ve played 10 plus years, established their lives so that they and their families will be financially sound well after their playing days conclude, and who kept their noses clean. But those aren’t the stories portrayed in the media. Instead, it’s the downtrodden, the “bust,” the one who squandered millions and failed that’s personified. It’s true, fair enough, but is it the only story? Hardly not. There are more that succeed than fail.
Let’s take a moment to look at both sides. I’d like to introduce you to Myron Rolle and Jamarcus Russell. Some of you may be familiar with the names and maybe their stories, but are your kids? In between studying the playbook and practicing the game winning move, let the future stars take a glance into the lives of these men and know that their choices have consequences, good or bad. Jamarcus Russell made choices that ultimately washed him out of the NFL, albeit with roughly $36 million earned. It is rumored that Russell has squandered most of that money along the way and after only 3 years in the NFL and 2 years out, he’s vehemently trying to claw his way back in. Rolle on the other hand is retiring from football after only 3 years. Awarded the Rhodes scholarship while attending Florida State University, where he was also a star safety, Rolle has decided to forgo football to pursue medicine and hopefully become a neurosurgeon.
So whether or not you can throw a ball 70 yards on a rope from your knees or can revolutionize medicine, it’s all about the choices you make that determine the path of your journey and your ultimate destination. Two men who wound up in the same place, the National Football League, have in the same length of time gone in complete polar opposites. Who’s to blame, if there is blame? Who should be praised? Are these two men really that different or did they have the wrong or right people around at the wrong or right times. Only time will tell where there stories end, but their stories should be a lesson for all. How are your choices affecting your life, your future?