Take a Stand

27th of February, 2014

In 2005, Thomas Friedman wrote a book called The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. This best-selling book opened our eyes to the increased globalization going on in our world today. No longer in existence are the looming national barriers that kept us from communicating, trading, and doing business in other countries. Friedman made some astute observations, and we would do well to take them into consideration. After all, concerning ourselves with international issues should be a part of our everyday lives.

That may be a strong recommendation, so here’s how I back it up. Over the last few weeks we have (or should have) heard about all that is going on in Venezuela. These riots don’t just affect Venezuelans; they affect all of us. We live in a world of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, allowing information to be spread in milliseconds. Indeed, we are bombarded with information—information about our friends’ lives, information about celebrity breakups, and even information about new high scores on games like Candy Crush. Information in itself isn’t the problem. What’s important is what we do with it.

Over the last few years you may have heard about the End It Movement, an advocacy campaign to end sex slavery, a global multi-billion dollar industry. But you see, sex slavery isn’t just happening in other countries—it’s here in the US as well. That’s why we should care. Just because we may not see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Many times we’ll hear about events like the protests in Venezuela or even the End It Movement, and our response is to simply “like” the post, or if we’re bold enough, we might retweet or share it. But what if there is more we could do? What if there was a better way to care for our brothers and sisters abroad? I believe there is a better way.

This better way is different for everyone. For some people it’s as simple as spreading awareness—in the case of Venezuela this is necessary because the government is actively censoring media outlets. In other cases it’s as simple as taking a picture with a red ‘X’ on your hand, signifying that you’re “in it to end it.” This awareness is important in the sex slavery industry because the men, women, and children who are victims need a voice.

For others, the better way means getting involved socially, physically, or even emotionally. It means getting off of your couch and going to these cities, these homes, these street corners, and standing up for what you believe in.

I recently met some people who are doing this very thing. My friend Jason has two jobs. The first is selling life insurance. The second is traveling to West Africa, undercover, to find and save sex slaves. Another man I met is named Ben. He has a few vocations as well—one being making movies in Hollywood. The second is helping create safe houses for the men, women, and children he has helped free from sex slavery.

Ben and Jason are “in it to end it.” I am too. So whatever cause it is that you’re fighting for, make sure you’re fighting for something. That’s what life is all about.

#LetsFreakinGo

What makes it ALL worth it

17th of February, 2014

Remember that time when you did a traditional Nigerian wedding in Africa and then didn’t get to see your “wife” for seven and a half months?

Also, do you remember that time when you filed a fiancée visa for her, then found out that 80% of fiancée visas out of Nigeria get rejected?

Remember that time when you only got a chance to spend a total of five weeks with her over the last year and a half?

Those are some pretty tough memories.

But do you remember the time when you CELEBRATED that traditional Nigerian wedding in the middle of a village in front of 2000 people—friends, family, and loved ones—and how it was the best day of your life?

Or that time when you got the call from your fiancée saying that the US embassy had APPROVED the fiancée visa that you had been waiting for for nine months?

What about the time when she came into the United States of America for the first time EVER, and you got to see her, hold her, kiss her, and show her your world?

The first three scenarios could be some of the toughest moments in someone’s life. But those last three make them all worth it. The joy you feel in those last three can’t even be compared to the heartache you felt in the first.

That’s how life is sometimes. You go through some of the toughest times and you think that you have nothing left in the tank. You think there’s no hope. Then you see the light at the end of the tunnel, and you run towards it full speed ahead. That light makes it all worth it…

But what would I know? None of this has ever happened to ME before… ;)

#LFG

The Super Bowl Story You HAVEN’T Heard

2nd of February, 2014

It’s that time of year again and many of us are getting ready for the biggest holiday of the year: Super Bowl Sunday. We’re buying food, purchasing drinks, and preparing our homes to watch the most-watched event in America.

The past two weeks have been riddled with Super Bowl storylines. From Peyton Manning’s famous (and lucrative) “Omaha” call to Richard Sherman’s post-game rant to Marshawn Lynch and his Skittles. But there’s one Super Bowl storyline that I guarantee you haven’t heard, and it’s that of my former teammate O’Brien Schofield.

O’Brien and I played together for the Cardinals during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. We had started as the Sam linebacker and the Will linebacker in 2012, and had dreams of an even better 2013. “We’re gonna be the best line backing duo in the league!” He exclaimed. And I agreed.

We had put in the work, built up the trust, and showed on film that we had a chance to be great. We were primed and ready to turn heads during the 2013 season. But all of that changed the day we started Training Camp.

We were in the locker room of University of Phoenix stadium, getting ready to take the dreaded “conditioning test” which consisted of three 300-yard shuttles. OB and I were laughing, joking, and dreaming of the journey we were soon to embark on. I walked out a little early to get a feel for the the field. About five minutes later, OB walked onto the field, with his head down. The news I heard next would change the storyline forever.

“They cut me, bro,” he said dejectedly.

“You’re kidding?!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it. What about our hopes, our dreams, our PLAN?! It was squandered, or at least he thought.

Within 24 hours O’Brien Schofield was claimed off of waivers by the Seattle Seahawks. And in a couple of hours he will be playing in Super Bowl 48. What started off as a horrible and hopeless situation turned into fulfilling a childhood dream.

So for those of you out there who are discouraged, keep on fighting. Trust that things are going to work out even when things don’t seem to be going your way. And who knows, you may be playing in a Super Bowl of your own some day.

#LFG