As a lifelong Dallas Cowboy fan, I find myself frequently comparing and contrasting America’s Team players to those of other professional sports. Call it my unfailing homerism or even closed mindedness, but I can always talk myself into a reason why the Cowboys are better. But, I think I have a legitimate winner as the NFL’s offseason MVP this time. While watching the Miami Heat celebrate their NBA title in a most self indulged drunken with pride chest pounding way, it occurred to me that true humility is a rare trait amongst professional athletes.
The odds of becoming a professional athlete, so I read, are less than winning the lottery. The volume of self promotion and self focus it takes to win a position in the NFL is astounding. Some of the best athletes in the world never make the rosters. There are guys running 4.3 40’s who get cut; think about that for a second. My point is the character quality of humbleness is rarely found in any professional sport today, and I think it’s the professional sports “machine” which drives that “me first” attitude.
The Merriam-Webster definition of humble is not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive: reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission. I assert that only a few professional athletes are living examples of this definition. I realize in the ultra competitive world of the NFL you have to have the “just throw me the damn ball” type players who are greedy for the sake of the team.
But I also think it takes a special type of person to play in the NFL and remain truly humble. My nominee for the NFL 2013 Offseason MVP is Doug Free. I can almost hear the guffaws and see the eye rolling from my little abode here in Dallas, but just give me a moment to lay out my case.
Have you ever been asked to take a pay cut? How much was it? Take a month or two off on “furlough” without pay? Was it a reduction in your commissions or territory? Whatever your personal experience, I think we can all agree it sucks!!! You want me to work the same amount of hours, at the same job, making less money!?!? Screw you man! That would be mine and many others, if we were honest with ourselves, response. Not Doug Free.
The Dallas Cowboys asked Mr. Free to take a $7 million reduction in salary. Seven million U.S. dollars!!! Doug did not play up to his contract last year, everyone knows that, but he acknowledged that too. When’s the last time you openly admitted in a public way that you were wrong, and needed to improve yourself? Ouch…