Being a superstar athlete has its share of benefits. However, many people don’t realize the problems that achieving such status can bring. The recent events with Aaron Hernandez shows how some athletes can pay for getting involved in things that they need to have zero business meddling in.
A lot of athletes come from environments that are not the most ideal. Along with that comes friends and family that can at times present unneccesary problems.
Tavon Austin spoke about how he suddenly had a lot of new found family members asking for money and favors after he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams.
“Just people,” Austin told the Rams’ official website. “Everybody expects a lot of things from you as far as money. Everybody wants to be around you. My phone doesn’t stop ringing now. It feels like they’re counting my bank account now. So that’s probably the hardest thing for me right now, just the people.”
Sometimes it will be family that puts athletes in an undesirable or unsafe situation, whether it be out at a nightclub or just through unwanted attention. Athletes have to be mindful of what their family is involved in. There’s a fine line that the athlete has to realize he can’t cross when it comes to his ties to home.
The amount of pressure that athletes get to “not forget where they came from” can come in many different forms. A really good thing that these athletes can do is to hold camps for the youth in their hometown. This gives them a chance to be an inspiration to the youth in their cities. A lot of the inner city youth are faced with bad circumstances and when a guy that went through the same things comes back to share his story, it shows that they can make it too.
Working for Twenty 10 Sports Group has given me the opportunity to see firsthand how effective the interaction with pro athletes can be for young people. I have seen how these members of the NFL give back to their communities all over the country.
Recently, I did a Christ First football camp in Camden, New Jersey with Jason Avant of the Philadelphia Eagles. The young athletes spoke about how seeing Avant make it gives them hope.
Antoher problem that can come about is the situations that running with the wrong crowd can bring. Athletes have to remember that ultimately, they will be a target if someone that they’re with does something wrong. They have to understand that some things need to be left behind. They have to separate themselves from some of the things that may have existed when they were growing up.
A lot of athletes don’t understand that their name is their brand. There are stories about some athletes that continued to be involved in the drug game even after they signed lucrative contracts. There are some athletes who continue to have people who are involved in things that would not shed a good light on them.
It is important for athletes to have a community outreach plan that will highlight their involvement in making a change, in doing something positive for the community. Some athletes such as Desean Jackson have foundations that do wonderful things. Desean’s foundation is called The Desean Jackson Foundation and raised awareness for Pancreatic Cancer, Anti Bullying and raises funds for Wounded Warriors.
It is interesting how family, the same thing that can bring one athlete down, is exactly what can protect an athlete. It just depends upon the kind of family that the athlete has. A strong, stable family will not allow athletes to get involved in nonsense.
They will provide a support system that is strong enough to let the athlete know when they are headed in the wrong direction. This is a group that is the opposite of what is known as “yes men.” Some athletes need this more than others.
All in all, athletes have to remember that they are held to a different standard. They live under a magnifying glass. Anything negative that they do will be noticed. Unfortuntately, the same attention is not paid to the positive things.
It is important for an athlete to have a small circle that they can rely on for guidance and direction. This can include family, advisors, their agent or any other people that they can lean on.
In the case of Aaron Hernandez, he failed to surround himself with the right people, and got involved in things that he shouldn’t have. As a result, he is suffering the consequences.