Thursday, May 6, 2010

Playing the Game

Dear Myron Rolle,

We do not know each other. I think we should. I might make a fine wife, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Colleagues have been emailing me about you, asking me what I think about your situation. I am no sports journalist. I do not know how far my voice carries, and if it goes anywhere, who is listening, but people have asked, and I am not one to let people down.

Sir, I am quite sure you know a thing or two about playing the game, and so I do not offer any information to you that I believe you do not already know.

First, congratulations on being the 6th round draft pick to the Tennessee Titans as the 207th overall draft pick. It beats being #255, right? Hey... you're on the team. I thought you could have gone to a team a little earlier, but there are rules to this NFL draft game, and there was speculation that you didn't want to play by those rules.

So, Myron, my sources say you are a smart man - all 6'2" 215 pounds of you. You are a safety. You graduated from Florida State University in 2.5 years... pre-med with a degree in exercise science... with a 3.75 GPA. OK, so you were one of those student-athletes, huh? I can respect that. I like that, actually. But then, to put the cherry on top, I am told that you are finishing up a graduate degree in medical anthropology at Oxford University a Rhodes Scholar. OK, dude. The story goes that had you foregone the Rhodes Scholarship and stayed in Florida and entered the draft, you would have been a 1st or 2nd round pick.

Mr. Rolle, that is not how the National Football League likes to play the game. The NFL is not interested in large Black men who set up foundations and sports clinics in the Bahamas and who state before even starting a professional football career that the long-term plan is to attend medical school and become a neurosurgeon. Mr. Rolle, in the NFL, the #1 rule is that football is #1!

One NFL executive said you're a better story than you are a player. So they're letting mediocre players into the league now? It might not have been the earlier round draft that you deserved, but I was under the impression that being selected at any level was a reflection of a player's ability. Silly me!

Word at combine was that you weren't committed to football. Dude, in football world, the standard has been set:

You're no Rudy, Myron. You're no Rudy at all. Quite the opposite, I'm pretty sure for most of your life you've been pushed to work harder, try harder, dream bigger, study smarter, run faster, perform better - to develop your natural talents and abilities to the point of perfection. I make this presumption because they tell me your parents are from the Bahamas. Mine are from a beautiful island, too. And while tourists know us for being laid back, smiling folks with dreadlocks and "no problems, mon!"... We who are children of the Caribbean know that a 98 on an exam is just 2 points shy of perfect, and even if you won the race your stride could have been wider. We know that individual success is no where near as important as our ability to help our families, strengthen our communities and make proud our native lands. So I get it, you're no Rudy. You're Myron. And your dreams aren't just your selfish dreams that inconvenience those around you and force you to single-mindedly persist at any cost. Yours are the dreams of some other substance and history.

Then you start talking crazy speak with quotes like this:
For me, I’ve never been someone with a singular talent. I have other abilities and interests and I think I would be doing a disservice to me, my team, my family, everyone who has invested stock in me if I was just so isolated in one thing. … The thing I always try to present to people in the NFL as far as my commitment is that my academics and my concerns at Oxford or as an outside philanthropist can help my football abilities. It can help me be someone more disciplined on the field, help me be someone more balanced and knowledgeable. It can help the other guys if they want to get involved in the foundation or the community rather than going out and partying or getting in trouble somehow.

Myron Rolle, I happen to like the game you're playing, and I'd like to be on your team. Do you need someone to run your Foundation? I'm in the market for a job anyway, and I don't mind relocating to the Bahamas. Feel free to contact me.

For me, Myron, you're a breath of fresh air. Amidst rape allegations, drug use, murder, suicide, guns in the club and a host of whores and mistresses, NFL and other professional athletes were becoming horrible caricatures. You bring some character back to the league and the field, and I hope you're as great a player as you are a story so that you get some playing time and use it well. That way, more people can hear your story.

You've got a new fan in me!

Best to you,

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