The Washington Post

Young athletes, if you want to be taken seriously, act like it

I read an article about a New Mexico football player named Deshon Marman who was removed from a flight because his jeans were below his buttocks.

The report says Marman,20, repeatedly refused to pull up his pants. After taking his seat, more complaints came from flight staff, and a call to the police was made and Marman was removed and arrested.

So to sum up this mess of a story: A college kid caught a case and became a national story because it was more important to him to prove that he would not pull his pants above his buttocks.

Now I know there’s two sides to every story, and I’m sure Marman may have a perfectly good explanation as to what happened and why, but just based off the reports, this has to go down as one of the dumbest ways to get arrested.

Not to mention how embarrassed he, his family and the institution he attends has to be after such an incident.

My advice, Deshon, if you ever read this:

You have an opportunity to get an education and play the most popular sport in America. There’s nothing wrong with being a young adult that presents himself as a responsible, respectful, polite, thoughtful and pleasant person.

Yes, appearance matters. I have dreadlocks, and I don’t walk around with a suit and tie on every day. I’m sure people pass judgement on me based upon how I choose to look.

But one thing no one will do is walk away from me not knowing that I’m smart, pleasant, cool to talk with, and I smell good. In the end, people will know that I’m someone who gets it.

Life is about continuing lessons, and yours right now is learning to dress appropriately. You need to embrace it, if for no other reason than your own self-respect.

Understand you set us back when you do these things — “us” being two different groups, African-Americans and athletes.

Brave people have fought for equal rights for years on your and my behalf. Many have dedicated their entire lives to dispelling the stereotypes that have been used to justify holding back a race of people and more specifically a young black man.

What you did only serves as sweet victory to those who seek to validate those stereo types.

Same goes for athletes. We all battle being viewed as something other than people, more like objects.

The desensitizing toward athletes takes place every time athletes make these types of headlines, and it’s all too frequent I know. Five hours of radio every day, and most of our topics are about athletes who mess up in one way or another. Sad but true.

I believe as time has passed, athletes are looked at as objects not people and for what? Because the stories that we read and watch are so outrageous that you don’t figure logical human beings would do these things. So now after so many of these stories, we are now objects of entertainment for the public sensationalized by the media coverage.

Pull your pants up along with your standards. Otherwise you will continue fall victim to the circumstances that you create for yourself.



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