Thursday, May 20, 2010

Myron’s Rolle’s Dilemma: Books or Ball?

I can’t believe they were saying those things about Myron Rolle.

Somehow, they skipped over his stellar resume. Myron graduated college in half the time, finishing all of his pre-medical school requirements and boasting a 3.75 grade point average…all while playing football at a top-flight school that expects excellence and demands success.

Perhaps they frowned upon Myron’s affiliation with Bobby Bowden, one of the greatest coaches in college football history, a man who finished his coaching career second on the all-time Wins list. He had a track record with defensive backs, refining the skills of veterans like Terrell Buckley and future Hall of Famers like Deion Sanders. Myron Rolle went to Bowden because he wanted to be trained by the best, a man most decorated in the amateur athletic realm, honored by many with the liberal distinction of G.O.A.T.

Maybe they forgot to look at his background, a young man reared by two capable parents, taught to love books and love sports, people whom he praised for his tremendous success.

No matter the reason, Myron Rolle remained in football purgatory late into that Saturday afternoon, wondering when his name would be called. Meanwhile, the experts kept using those damned words to question his motive.

Focus. Resolve. Commitment. Or lack thereof.

And I don’t understand why.

Apparently, neither could Myron Rolle.

“I had a lot of options, to go to medical school, to get (another degree) at Oxford, to enter politics now or keep my foundation going strong. There are so many different avenues I can take right now. The fact that I choose football, something that academics and people in the education realm, can’t really understand, I think shows my testament. I gave up a lot, I sacrificed a lot in my Rhodes Scholarship experience, to stay in shape, to make sure I was ready for this moment right here.”
All-American athlete. Medical anthropologist. Rhodes scholar. Isn’t this the type of story the NFL wants to promote?

But teams were still shook. The word on Rolle heading into the NFL draft centered around his dedication to the sport. Teams balked at his master’s degree and athletic honors. Endorsements from Bill Bradley and Pat Haden did little to bolster his stock. Finally, after 206 players came and went, the Tennessee Titans selected the Florida State graduate.

To the NFL gurus, the choice is clear: Sports over science.

Even when the percentage of talented individuals gaining access is lower for the league than med school. Even when the talent pool begs for folks to choose other professions. Even when the individual in question is an athlete and scholar…and holds a degree from one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Oh well. Perhaps I’ll never understand.


  1. i don't think he should've had to choose but I think that he made the best decision because if the football thing doesn't really bring longevity, he REALLY does have something to fall back on. all of the other former nfl professionals with untapped intellectual capacities will be to busy trying to piece together their confidence and vying for the few commentator spots on ESPN or even pitching show ideas to VH1. but at the same time, i get where they [experts] are coming from. I wish he didn't have to choose between the two but everybody knows that for athletes, the game trumps everything, family included. i'm not saying its right, i'm just saying that's how it is

  2. Bump that. MONEY (in the case, a return on your investment) is everything. That's why he wasn't picked until the 6th round. If he's a beast, you're a genius. If he's not, at least you still have cap space. And he'll be a doctor anyway. (BAD IDEA JEANS, NFL.)

    But I don't think NFL scouts should allow him to drop just because he can fall back on his smarts. Let's not pretend like they care about that.