Dolphins quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a message for the athletes of today and tomorrow, and it’s pretty simple; Be real with yourself, and don’t portray something you’re not for validation.
In this world of social media clout and posers, Bridgewater’s words of wisdom got support from plenty of others, including LeBron James.
As much as professional athletes train and work their tails off to be great at their respective sports, it is all for entertainment at the end of the day. These are multi-billion-dollar industries that thrive off of the competitiveness of these men and women.
Sports fans alike tend to love and hate the “bad boys” of the game. The captivating tough guys who are always in your face, or knocking you to the ground, will trash talk you and most likely back it up. The real enforcers are a rare breed. There’s also plenty of fake tough guys.
We’ve seen it since the beginning of sports, where certain athletes like to assert their dominance by being a bully or upholding a “tough guy” persona. A lot of players thrive off of the “tough guy” image, and fans love it.
Many players feel that they’re tough because the game is played in a highly publicized controlled environment where it’s unlikely someone is going to react as they would in the streets. Some players even take over alter egos during games to help boost their energy. Overall, however, none of these prep school posers are authentic tough guys.
According to Bridgewater most guys aren’t like that outside of the stadium. Bridgewater took to social media to display this message to the masses, speaking about the issue in a lengthy post.
“Tired of seeing football players portray this tough guy image or pretend he’s a gangsta. You went to school, attended those classes and some even go their college degree. Now you might have 1.5% of professional football players that’s on that but the remaining 98.5% are only “football tough.”
So don’t wait till you inherit this legal money from the league to decide you want to be tougher portray a “street image” cause it’s kids that’s looking up to everything we do. Plus it’s someone sitting in a cell or posted in the hood who might’ve been just as hood as you that would advise you otherwise.
Kids don’t be fooled. You can play ball, do the right thing and they still gonna accept you. Look at me, I’m far from perfect but I chose the ball route, but I still can go to the same hood and post up and it’s all love. I still keep the same 3 dudes around me. My people accept me for making all the right decisions and not falling victim or being tricked by the false image you see on IG from a lot of ball players.
Choose your path. Can’t do both though.”
The impact and timeliness of the message was validated by LeBron by way of social media as well. King James reposted this on twitter, with the comment “All Facts”.
T. Bridgewater! All FACTS 💯 pic.twitter.com/8KG9GykieE
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 20, 2022
LeBron was right, Bridgewater is speaking all facts, and this is a message that upcoming athletes need to hear.
You don’t have to be a tough guy or a gangster to get respect and acceptance from your peers, and going to the league and becoming a celebrity making millions of dollars doesn’t mean you automatically forget where you came from either, as evidenced by Bridgewater previously stating that he can still go back to his neighborhood and hang out with his friends and family.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson is from a small town in Texas called Port Arthur where crime and killing has always been a real thing for young men trying to grow up in that area. Jackson, one half of the popular podcast “All The Smoke,” expressed the same sentiments concerning NBA players who wait until they get money to start rapping and promoting violence in their music when they’ve never personally experienced any of these things.
Stephen Jackson has a question for nba players who rap about gangsta stuff. pic.twitter.com/2ADp3W7HFj
— SAY CHEESE! 👄🧀 (@SaycheeseDGTL) July 22, 2022
These athletes are role models and influence generations of people with their behavior. Bridgewater just wants football players to understand that. Stop pretending to be in a mob movie when you actually take ballet lessons. Just embrace the true you. Even LeBron, who came from nothing and became one of the greatest athletes of all-time, could relate to this message.