Why Pass Judgement on the NFL?

Author David Espinoza as a sophomore in high school - photo taken in 1975 Recently I’ve read and listened to negative news surfacing on just about all sorts of media pertaining to the NFL (National Football League). I’m feeling a little disappointed that people can pass judgments on the entire organization for bad decisions that are being made by some players. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally against bad decisions being made by any athletes, teachers, priests, pastors, kids, coaches, etc. – I think you get my drift.

My concern is that people might be overlooking the fact that there are some amazing athletes in the NFL or in any other sport for that matter. For example, take a look at Archie Manning – a great quarterback during the 1971-1984 seasons who played for the New Orleans Saints and the Houston Oilers (now Houston Texans).  Archie has three sons, Peyton (quarterback for Indianapolis Colts and now Denver Broncos), Eli (quarterback for the New York Giants), and Cooper (career ended at Ole Miss) who not many people know about.

If you get a chance, watch the documentary “The Book of Manning” on ESPN Films – you’ll need Kleenex. I really enjoyed this story, not only because I have two sons and I can relate deeply, but because of the example of love and care that this family has for each other. Cooper was drafted to play at Ole Miss – he would follow his Dad’s footsteps. During his freshman year at Ole Miss, Cooper was diagnosed with spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal).

Peyton dreamed of playing with his brother, Cooper, at Ole Miss. When Cooper was forced to end his football career, well, I really feel that Peyton’s decision changed and he headed toward Tennessee. His dad respected his decision and supported it. To Peyton, I think he knew that it would not be the same not throwing to his 6’4” brother who had become a stellar wide receiver.

Little brother, Eli, redeemed the family tradition and followed his Dad’s footsteps and headed to Ole Miss. It was a little different situation and the entire town was celebrating. The pressure of facing the public had turned around for the good. Archie’s family has been blessed with such a successful NFL story.

Sports are supposed to be fun. They are not for stereotyping. It doesn’t matter what the fun may be – music, science, or gardening. If you’ve never made a bad decision in your life, then I guess it’s okay for you to judge and gossip and spread negative things about the NFL or sports in general.

If a person makes a bad decision – we have the law and justice that should be served. Instead it seems like we point fingers and look for blame. Shouldn’t we be focusing on resolving and treatment – help for the people that need it? And most important, once a person has served their time (paid for the price) shouldn’t forgiveness be followed?

There are so many positive things about sports, the more we focus on those (especially in the media world) the less we will stereotype.

If you have kids, get involved with them and support them in having fun participating in the sport or sports they enjoy most. If you don’t have kids, volunteer in a sports program, or get involved in a big-brother or big-sister program and help them.

Teaching kids good values at a young age can make a big difference when they become college or professional athletes – they will be in a better position to make good decisions in life. Even if there are thousands of kids with issues, I certainly understand that it’s impossible to have a huge impact on all of them, but to that “one kid you helped” it will make a difference. It all comes down to one thing, “love others”.