The Problem at Home

26th of April, 2014

We live in a cold world. As Americans we believe that we are immune to trouble and that the real evil is outside of the contiguous 48. We couldn’t be more wrong.

I go to Nigeria each and every year, and every time, some of the people I invite turn down the offer because of the danger over there. Granted, some in Nigeria have committed ruthless, heartless, and evil acts. But there is imminent danger in the U.S. as well. People remind me of the atrocities that occur at schools in Nigeria, but then I remind myself that schools here experience attacks too. These atrocious acts of violence in Nigeria are appalling, but what may be even more gut-wrenching are the evils that go on right beneath our noses.

Recently I watched 12 Years A Slave, which won numerous Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Awards. This movie is a true story about a free black man from upstate New York who, in 1841, was abducted and sold into slavery. He spent the next 12 years of his life as a slave in the South before he was finally vindicated. This sad, true story was a reminder of some of the atrocities that African-Americans faced many years ago. But what is even more appalling is that the same mindset of racism is still prevalent today.

Donald Sterling, the owner of the LA Clippers, recently went on a rant to his girlfriend about his dislike for African-Americans. He says things like, “Don’t bring them to my games” and “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.” These comments are offensive, appalling, and hateful. Yet there are many more Donald Sterlings all around us. Though outward acts of racism, sexism, and bigotry have decreased, inward views and feelings of hatred still prevail.

Pray for Donald Sterling and those like him. Pray for those whose hearts are filled with hate. And finally, stand up against injustices. Not just abroad, but at home as well.

#LFG

Wear Your Passion on Your Sleeve

15th of April, 2014

I’ve been told many times that I can get pretty passionate. It’s true. As a linebacker in the NFL, passion comes with the territory. If you’re timid, you won’t last long in this job.

But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to be passionate—to care deeply about what matters and to work hard to achieve whatever you set your mind to. Anyone can wear their passion on their sleeve.

Many of you know my rallying cry: LET’S FREAKIN’ GO! It’s something I say all the time—whether I’m surrounded by teammates in the huddle, speaking from the stage, or just running into people on the street. I say it to inspire myself and everyone around me to be the best each of us can be, to refuse to settle for small dreams. I say it—and I wear it—just about every day.

Now I want to give you the chance to wear your passion on your sleeve as well. I had some LFG t-shirts designed and they’re now for sale online at skreened.com. You can choose from a variety of colors and shirt styles, and Skreened will send you the shirt directly.

I’m not making any money off of this—I just want to make available to you a great t-shirt with a great message so you and everyone you know can be reminded to never give up, no matter what. LET’S FREAKIN’ GO!!!

#LFG

The Toughest Job in the World

10th of April, 2014

Playing in the NFL is tough. Going through grueling two-a-day practices in the 100 degree Arizona heat. Fighting with all your strength to PRACTICE well enough to make the team. Working even harder to earn a starting spot. Hoping you don’t get cut after those three intense weeks. And that’s just August.

Follow that up by putting on heavy pads and a helmet and running full speed into 300 pound men who all feel like they’re made of steel. Injuries abound, pressure mounts, and friendships dwindle. And you haven’t even played a game yet.

When you finally get to the games that count—the fun part—even then you are endlessly scrutinized by analysts and criticized by fans, amplified all the more by social media.

Don’t get me wrong. The pay is great and the fame definitely has its perks, but playing in the NFL is not an easy job. And up to three weeks ago, I would have said it was the hardest job in the world.

What happened three weeks ago, you ask? I got married.

Let me say that I have the utmost respect for every husband out there. In fact, before I got married, I took a poll and asked every man I knew who had been married for more than a few years to tell me what had been the toughest part about marriage. I heard answers like, “You finally realize how selfish you are,” “You’re not only making decisions for yourself, now you have to take someone else into consideration,” and even answers like, “She is a reflection of you, like a flower. If you water her, prune her, and shed light on her, she’ll blossom. If you don’t, she won’t. And you take responsibility for that.”

These were some heavy statements, that I THOUGHT I was ready to tackle. Boy was I wrong. Marriage is single-handedly one of the hardest things in the world. It takes sacrifice, it takes leadership, and quite frankly, it takes guts.

I have a biblical view of marriage, in which I’m called to love my wife the way Christ loved his people, the church. How did Christ love the church? He DIED for it. Jesus asked God to forgive them as they were killing him. That’s some deep stuff. That’s what marriage is about. But there’s more.

See, I also asked my friends to tell me about the upsides of marriage. I heard things like, “You get to do life with your best friend,” “You get to serve your wife and see her grow,” and one guy even said, “You get to have sex as much as you want—without feeling bad about it!”

Since our wedding day, I’ve learned that marriage is very hard, but it is also well worth it. As a matter of fact, I think the challenges are what make it worthwhile. The blood, sweat, and tears you put in to make it work. To stick it out even when things look bleak. To never give up on your wife, and to lead her well. To die for her. THAT, my friends, is the hardest job in the world.

At least until we have kids, that is…

#LFG