“It’s about character, not just capability.” This line from Kevin Schroeder’s article “The Heisman Controversy” was extremely meaningful to me. The opinion piece talks about the dispute over whether professional athletes – specifically college football players – should still receive the prestigious Heisman Trophy despite doing terrible things off the field. Recent recipients of the award have been accused of violating NCAA rules against bribery and even committing heinous crimes as bad as sexual assault.
This article spoke to me like no other. I’ve played soccer since age eight, and it has always been instilled in me by my dad/coach that being a good sport – shaking hands with players at the end of a game, not being disrespectful to referees – is as important as scoring and playing well. I thought that Kevin’s piece was extremely eloquent and gave great background information so that readers could understand the issue regardless of their knowledge of sports.
The question of whether athletes should still receive awards for phenomenal performances on the field even if they have committed atrocious acts off the field is not easily answered, but “The Heisman Controversy” does a fantastic job of explaining the issue. I completely agree with Kevin that character is just as important – if not more important – than your on-field performance. I hope that in the future athletes can take this into consideration and try to be better role models for fans.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.