One football player’s defense against negative opinions towards athletes

Nasir Beyah, an MC student and athlete, talks about misconceptions and prejudices against athletes on college campuses. Photo courtesy of Ariana Hansen.
Nasir Beyah, an MC student and athlete, talks about misconceptions
and prejudices against athletes on college
campuses. Photo courtesy of Ariana Hansen.

    Selfish, mean, cocky, inconsiderate, self-centered: These are just a few of the many ways that student athletes are often viewed from others around campus. Rumors are spread, titles are built and statuses are dropped.

    It was not until I became a college athlete that I began to experience these specific judgments from others. As a football player I have noticed that there are people who refuse to even socialize with us. Is it because we are often big and aggressive or loud and obnoxious? Whatever the reason is, we do not deserve it.

    There are some student athletes that do not have this specific problem and get along with non-athletes quite well around campus. Then you have those who do not. From what I can tell, people around campus have certain people that they associate with daily.

    I assume that people become friends with other people who share the same interests as them. But many people do not take it upon themselves to reach out and meet new people, specifically football players.

    The common phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” relates a lot to this specific situation. I say that because being a football player is more than just playing the sport and becoming famous.

    Our identity and actions are set high on a scale, so we try our best to maintain a good image. If one of our teammate makes a poor decision we will all be viewed negatively and be punished for it as well.

    People do not consider the hard work we put into our success. Instead they often accuse us of having everything handed to us or having it easy. But they have no idea what we are doing behind closed doors.

    They don’t understand the blood, sweat and tears put forth in our grind. We have found something special to us that pushes us to work harder and reach our dream. Not everybody is able to see how much work we do, so they view us differently.

    But  Ron Gartrell, my high school Head Football Coach, once said, “The average person will never understand or realize the hard work you put in to achieve what you have accomplished. No one is going to show you sympathy.”

    Most student athletes, football players in particular, are very nice and are fairly easy to get along with. We do not hurt people— off of the football field— and we love to have a good time.

    Football players do their best to develop a relationship with the community on and off campus. We give our thanks to all of our supporters and fans. We love the fact that we are doing what we love and at the same time providing entertainment and motivation for others.

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