12 Sep High School Athletes: Make Political Statements…At Your Own Risk
Recently there has been a lot of press about Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players who are kneeling for our country’s National Anthem. While that’s all well and good and protesting is their right, young athletes look up to these players and these young people do not quite understand either why this is happening, or more importantly how their actions can have potential negative repercussions on their burgeoning college careers.
It is very easy for NFL players like Kaepernick to make bold, political statements at this point in their careers. They have already made it to the show. Kaepernick makes $19 Million per year. Granted he has been basically relegated to the third string so he is able use this to try to keep himself relevant, but other players are follow suit and they are now starting to lose endorsement deals. Regardless that still leaves them with millions of dollars from their NFL salaries. For a high school athlete it is a very different situation.
“First you go along, then you get along”
High school athletes, you are new to the show. You are relative “babes in the woods”. You haven’t earned your bones yet. You are trying to make it to the show. While you are entitled to make a political statement like your NFL heroes keep in mind that you have to tread very carefully.
All it takes is for one college coach to take offense to your statement and that could cost you a scholarship offer. A few years back Ohio State dropped their offer to a five-star football player because of what he tweeted. That was just tweeting. Now imagine if a college coach gets wind of you kneeling for the National Anthem. Now what if that coach is a veteran like myself, or has family who serve or are in law enforcement. If they take any offense to what you are doing that could very easily cost you a deal.
Coaches talk. I have marketed thousands of athletes and once the word gets out about one talent…other coaches know quickly. The grape vine is very small and coaches talk. Not only do they talk to one another, and your high school coach, but they talk to other people who are not sports related to see what kind of character person you are. They speak to librarians, janitors, administrators, etc.
“The true measure of a man is how he treats those who can do absolutely nothing for him”
How you treat others in everyday life speaks volumes about your character. Coaches love players who have good character. They love players who represent themselves well, who behave and who don’t cause problems. They want those players for their organizations. You need to ensure you are one of those players so it strengthens your resume as an athlete, so it makes you a more valuable commodity.
Some may say, “So you are telling me I have to play the game?!”…the short answer is “YES”. We ALL play the game in athletics and in life. You may want to sound off and voice your opinion, but there are times to do it and times to stay silent. NFL players have made it to the show. They have their contracts so they take risks with more of a safety net. You don’t have that safety net yet. You want to get to the show and it takes a LOT of hard work, sacrifice, effort and most importantly discipline
You may have a lot that you want to say, but leave that to the people who are in the position to say it. Don’t jeopardize your careers for the sake of following what some millionaire NFL players are doing. Establish your own career first.
Focus on what’s important for you right now: Academics, Discipline, Conditioning and Performance. Build your resume. Make yourself valuable to coaches so they will be willing to invest money and time in your future with their teams. Don’t risk alienating any coaches because you never know who will be the one that makes the offer.
I know you have a lot to say and are very tempted to express yourself, especially with social media, but relax. Your time will come, but you have to get there first. You are still young. First you go along, then you get along.
Remember to work hard and #KnowYourGoal
If you need help refining your resume, if you need guidance and development, or parents if you feel your athlete needs that feel free to contact me. Our Titan Scouting service helps develop and market athletes to the next level be it college or pro. Feel free to email us at Scouting@TitanScouting.com and we can start talking about your future.
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