A message for college football cynics like the one I met this morning

Stanford football players
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

To the man in the airport:

I had to walk away from you. I had to hold my tongue. I had to say a prayer underneath my breath.

You do not know these college football players, yet you call them troublemakers and thugs. The coaches are not immune from your righteous indignation either.

“Oh, you cover college football,” the man at the airport says. “You tell coach so-and-so he needs to get a hold of his players.”

“He is, sir,” I reply. “I have seen it first hand.”

“Well (huff), he isn’t doing enough then,” the man retorts.

“Coach so-and-so is doing A LOT,” I explain. “He is having his boys participate in Habitat for Humanity, they are serving at schools, he is bringing in great, life-changing speakers.”

I see his face draw up. I know how he is looking at me.

What does she know anyway?

We smile strained smiles, exchange empty pleasantries and go our separate ways. Inside, I am fuming.

Kind sir, you don’t know. All you see or hear of college football players is the isolated negative incidents which make the news, then you lump all players into one big ball. You call them names and make assumptions, thereby doing them more damage than you’ll ever know. Others join along with your water cooler rantings. Soon your ignorance has become an oft repeated chorus.

That is dangerous.

Let me tell you why I know the man in the airport – and all the cynics like him – are wrong.

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