My Message to Young Players Aspiring to be in the NFL

Official Denver Broncos Reporter

By Julie Dixon @ABroncoNole

Social media gives us a glimpse into the human condition and the heartbeat of morality. This can be both a useful tool and a frightening one when used to further an agenda.

As America is bombarded with a message of tolerance, social media gives us the reverse. We see how perceptions of people can be shaped through a few sentences. Their character and lives summed up and judged. A life story in 140.

Look at the cases of Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Jameis Winston and Joe Mixon.

Each of these men were seen one way until social media stepped in and turned it. Manning was Mr. All-American, squeaky clean and everyone’s favorite player. An incident from another century and a gross invasion of his privacy became front page news.

Depending on your world view, he’s either a saint or a sinner with little in between. The media often omitted many details to his story to further their agenda. Facts ignored. History ignored. Laws and privacy be damned.

For some, this gross laziness of not giving America the full story was done with malice. Retribution for any slights. The same is true for Winston. Very few know, or care to know, the whole story because it would force them to change their mind, admit being wrong.

People love to cloak themselves in the illusion of their own self-righteousness while slandering others. Hypocrisy rules. The NFL is the mack daddy of hypocrisy.

Once the media decides on a narrative, facts be damned, it becomes truth. Journalism dies when laziness and gross bias set in. When media outlets feel a portrayal, in line with their thinking, better suits their agenda, they omit a full telling.

In the case of Adrian Peterson, we saw a wild fluxation of where America stood. When news first broke, many were outraged that he even got in trouble. A ‘debate’ about parenting styles became the topic de jour until the photos were leaked.

The story of his house and room and testimony of his other children changed many a mind. Once again, depending on what facts are presented, snap judgements were made. Evil incarnate or a victim of his own raising.

The human eye can discern 256 shades of gray, but the cult of the Twitter mind only sees black or white.

Rice and Mixon had videos tell their story; however, the circumstances were not the same. Regardless of where one stands on these two players, teams did their due diligence. Rice is gone. Mixon is getting a second chance. Whether a team’s fans buy it, will be up to how well their Public Relations team can spin it.

Right now, in this country, differing opinions, aren’t welcome. We’ve become a nation with flashes of the McCarthy years with a splash of Big Brother. Privacy is an illusion. Free Speech is an illusion. Truth is hated unless it backs up one’s own thoughts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re some Joe Schmoe from podunk or a famous athlete, everything you say and do is being watched and judged. And almost always condemned. People no longer look for the good, don’t look beyond the why, they rig a noose.

The media is complicit. They decide what’s acceptable and what’s not. These faceless people in boardrooms determine what story to tell. Trust me, it’s a story, not a reporting of facts.

When people are given the same power, to disseminate information with whatever twist, truth no longer matters. Behind every keyboard is an illusion. Trust doesn’t exist and cowardliness reigns. Laremy Tunsil knows this.

His privacy and trust were violated and laid before a judging public to decide his fate. Set up by a vengeful and weak person whose goal was to rob his so-called ‘friend’ of his joy and happiness. Over money.

Tunsil learned a great lesson and one that I’m sure made him see the world with a lot less sunshine. It’s filled with people who take pleasure in taking anyone who disagrees with them, or has a beef, down. Burn them to the ground.

As I follow Twitter and see one player after another who has big dreams of playing in the NFL being summed up by one ‘scout’ or one report, my faith in humanity slips a tad. When I see young men robbed of their joy of trying to reach their goals of a lifetime, I shed a little tear.

I don’t know their stories because so few in the ‘press’ has bothered to do their job.

My message, if I had a platform to every player is this: the world you live in isn’t fair. One person can rob you of your dreams.

Social media and anyone you meet on it, isn’t your friend. Treat every encounter as if you’re on film. Even if you treat everyone with respect and kindness, there’s always the black souls who believe you don’t deserve it, who will make it their mission to knock your wings off.

Be prepared. Hire a manager to combat any rumors. Surround yourself, in person, with people who have your best interest at heart, who want nothing from you and want to reach for the stars, not wallow in the mud.

Have faith in yourself that even if the narrative about you is false, there will be someone out there wanting to see beyond the veil. While the media in all its forms paints a bleak picture, trust that it’s a challenge to make you stronger. Use it as fuel.

For anyone reading this, who may be nodding their head, let’s join together and push for more. More honesty. Less judgements. A greater capacity for seeing beyond the words on a screen. When we do this, we can put a little bit more sunshine in a bleak world.

Featured image courtesy: thebiglead.com

Follow and chat with me: @ABroncoNole

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