The first few games of a season, everyone looked like baby deer with new legs. Quick, skittish, unconfident in new kits and gear. Rhys liked the smell though —fresh grass, perfectly manicured and protected for the off-months. Green. Soft. Familiar under cleats. He always dragged his fingers along it when he stepped out to start a game. A small hello Rhys had started during his games as a child in South Africa. Hello, the blades of grass seemed to say back as the bounced back against his hand.
In 2012 the NFL had an issue with Tim Tebow kneeling for each game to pray, they also had an issue with Tebow wearing John 3:16 as part of his blackout to avoid glare and made him take it off.
In 2013 the NFL fined Brandon Marshall for wearing green cleats to raise awareness for people with mental health disorders….
In 2014 Robert Griffin III (RG3) entered a post-game press conference wearing a shirt that said “Know Jesus Know Peace” but was forced to turn it inside out by an NFL uniform inspector before speaking at the podium.
In 2015 DeAngelo Williams was fined for wearing “Find the Cure” eye black for breast cancer awareness.
In 2015 William Gay was fined for wearing purple cleats to raise awareness for domestic violence. (not that the NFL has a domestic violence problem…)
In 2016 the NFL prevented the Dallas Cowboys from wearing a decal on their helmet in honor of 5 Dallas Police officers killed in the line of duty.
In 2016 the NFL threatened to fine players who wanted to wear cleats to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11
So tell me again how the NFL supports free speech and expression?
You graduated high school in 2011. Your teenage years were a struggle. You grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your mother was the leader of the family and worked tirelessly to keep a roof over your head and food on your plate. Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.
Your best friend was just like you, except he didn’t play football. Instead of going to football practice after school, he went to work at McDonalds for minimum wage.
You were recruited by all the big colleges and spent every weekend of your senior year making visits to universities where coaches and boosters tried to convince you their school was best. They laid out the red carpet for you. Your best friend worked double shifts at Mickey D’s. College was not an option for him. On the day you signed with Big State University, your best friend signed paperwork with his Army recruiter. You went to summer workouts. He went to basic training.
You spent the next four years living in the athletic dorm, eating at the training table. You spent your Saturdays on the football field, cheered on by adoring fans. Tutors attended to your every academic need. You attended class when you felt like it. Sure, you worked hard. You lifted weights, ran sprints, studied plays, and soon became one of the top football players in the country.
Your best friend was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. While you were in college, he deployed to Iraq once and Afghanistan twice. He became a Sergeant and led a squad of 19 year old soldiers who grew up just like he did. He shed his blood in Afghanistan and watched young American’s give their lives, limbs, and innocence for the USA.
You went to the NFL combine and scored off the charts. You hired an agent and waited for draft day. You were drafted in the first round and your agent immediately went to work, ensuring that you received the most money possible. You signed for $16 million although you had never played a single down of professional football.
Your best friend re-enlisted in the Army for four more years. As a combat tested sergeant, he will be paid $32,000 per year.
You will drive a Ferrari on the streets of South Beach. He will ride in the back of a Blackhawk helicopter with 10 other combat loaded soldiers. You will sleep at the Ritz. He will dig a hole in the ground and try to sleep. You will “make it rain” in the club. He will pray for rain as the temperature reaches 120 degrees.
On Sunday, you will run into a stadium as tens of thousands of fans cheer and yell your name. For your best friend, there is little difference between Sunday and any other day of the week. There are no adoring fans. There are only people trying to kill him and his soldiers. Every now and then, he and his soldiers leave the front lines and “go to the rear” to rest. He might be lucky enough to catch an NFL game on TV. When the National Anthem plays and you take a knee, he will jump to his feet and salute the television. While you protest the unfairness of life in the United States, he will give thanks to God that he has the honor of defending his great country.
To the players of the NFL: We are the people who buy your tickets, watch you on TV, and wear your jerseys. We anxiously wait for Sundays so we can cheer for you and marvel at your athleticism. Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us. You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you. We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right. But now you have gone too far. You have insulted our flag, our country, our soldiers, our police officers, and our veterans. You are living the American dream, yet you disparage our great country. I am done with NFL football and encourage all like minded Americans to boycott the NFL as well.
— SHARE, SHARE, SHARE —
National boycott of the NFL for Sunday November 12th, Veterans Day Weekend. Boycott all football telecast, all fans, all ticket holders, stay away from attending any games, let them play to empty stadiums. Pass this post along (copy and paste, like I did here) to all your friends and family. Honor our military, some of whom come home with the American Flag draped over their coffin.
Running your fingers through your tangled hair, you sighed and shook your head before pulling it into a ponytail. Walking towards the bathroom, you frowned as you stared at your red puffy eyes in the mirror. Sighing you shook your head and sniffled before brushing your teeth. Walking back to you room, you slipped on a pair of skinny jeans and a Nirvana shirt before heading out to the living room. Sliding your black vans on you stood still and stared down at the black material remembering everything that happened that night. Shaking your head you wiped your cheeks and opened the hallway closet looking for your backpack.
Picking up your backpack from the ground you slipped it on and headed down the stairs. Gripping the straps you made your way down the sidewalk towards the football field. Knowing that the team was at a different school for a game, the whole place would be empty. Making your way up the bleachers, you heard your footsteps echo, dropping your backpack you sighed and sat down leaning your back against the railing. Sliding your headphones on, you pulled out your notebook and began with your English paper. Humming quietly you bit down softly on your pencil staring down at the paper. Sighing you placed the pencil gently on your lap and looked around the empty field. Placing the notebook back into your backpack and sliding it on, you stood up getting on your tippy toes. Shaking your head, you quickly made your way down the stairs, gripping the railing. Turning the corner you walked to the dugout. Sighing you walked over and kicked his green cleats. Dropping your backpack by his feet, you stared at him.
“Aren’t you suppose to be at a game?” you asked raising your eyebrow “You’re kind of the captain” you added. He groaned and pulled his hoodie down over his face, crossing his arms and ignoring you. “You just let your team go,” you asked as you tried to look at his face. He sighed and stood up, glaring over at you, he pushed past you his arm hitting yours. Gripping the sleeve of his hoodie you tried to stop him. “You’re not even going to talk to me,” you asked. He turned around and glared at you, his hands turned into fists as he stared at you.
“What do you want me to say” he snapped making you flinch.
“About the other night” you whispered, he sighed and ran his fingers through his hair as he looked over at you
“That night was a mistake” he said as he stared at you “Do you honestly think I love you” he asked with a chuckle, feeling your heart beating faster you played softly with your hands “Come on Y/N you’re a smart girl” he laughed as he walked over pressing his finger softly to your temple “Use your brain” he added. Looking down at your shoes you bit down on your lip.
“I thought you were different” you whispered making him laugh
“What do you think this is a movie,” he asked, you could hear the amusement in his voice “Come on, what did you think was going to happen. I was going to sleep with you and suddenly catch feelings for you” he added “Grow up this is isn’t a fairy tale” he laughed. Looking over at him you stared into his hazel eyes.
“I thought that there was something here,” you said quietly afraid of your voice
“Yeah well you thought wrong” he spat as he turned around and paced up and down softly. Nodding you looked over at him running your fingers through your hair.
“You’re right, how could I be so dumb. A cute guy paying attention to boring old me” you said causing him to look over at you “I mean I was just to caught up in someone paying attention to me that I failed to realize what an asshole he really is” you added raising your eyebrow “How stupid of me to believe that someone like you could fall for someone like me, that only happens in the movies” you mumbled. “But whatever right,” you asked looking at him “I mean look at you, you seem perfectly fine and me I’ll be okay,” you said smiling at him and walking past him. Turning around you wiped your cheeks and stared at him “I never told you this” you said looking into his hazel eyes “I fell so hard for you. All the silly conversations we had. The way you talked about your family. The way you talk about your friends. You told me about your past and you told me you could get used to waking up next to me and me,” you laughed “I believed it, I believe every damn lie that left your lips”. “You know how they talk about this feeling you get when you meet the perfect person. All those butterflies in your stomach, how you feel light headed every single time you touched that person. They way my heart would beat out of my chest when you spoke. Your name sending goosebumps down my arms.” you said, “That feeling that they described in the movies that how I felt with you every single day” you added sniffling.
"But, let me tell you this. Months from now when you feel lonely when you want to pick up your phone and dial my number. Don’t!“ you cried staring at him "Because months from now, I won’t give a damn about you. Months from now your name won’t break my heart, it won’t give me that stabbing pain down my whole body. Months from now I won’t think about you, I won’t worry about you anymore” you added glaring at him “So when you pick up your phone and you hesitate to press my name don’t bother because you can call 100 times and I won’t pick up. You can call at three in the morning when you’ve had too much to drink and I won’t answer” you whispered watching as he stared down at his shoes.
“Y/N” he started to say before you shook your head
“No! you don’t get to speak this time. It’s my turn” you whimpered gripping the hem of your shirt “I hope you look back and realize how much you fucked up Ashton” you added “Because let me tell you this nobody will care about you the way I did. Nobody will look at you like you’re the most beautiful star in the whole damn galaxy. Nobody will stay up until 3 am wondering if you arrive at home safely. Wondering where the hell you are at night. Worrying about you every damn minute of the day” you ran your fingers through your hair and shook your head. “You won’t find someone like me. Someone who would put everything aside just to get a chance to speak to you” you added. “I hope you look back and don’t regret this because you made this happen,” you said looking into his eyes picking up your things and making your way out of the field.
seriously i love this dude, like he wore neon green cleats in a game last year for mental health awareness week even though he knew he would be fined $10,000 for it. not only that but he matched that fine and donated another $10,000 to his foundation. i’m not a bears fan but my next jersey will probably be a brandon marshall jersey
(’: remember that time when brandon marshall wore neon green cleats for mental health awareness week even though he knew he’d get fined $15k for the uniform violation
he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder a few years ago and started his own foundation (projectborderline.org) to raise awareness for it. watching that game and hearing the announcers talk about what the cleats were for ultimately led to my own diagnosis of BPD. i went to his website after the game to read up on it and thought it would be worth a shot to talk to a doctor about it since a lot of what i read made sense, and a few months later i was diagnosed
i love this dude so much like i’ve thought about writing him a letter to say thanks for how much the diagnosis changed my life (and maybe even saved my life, who knows), but i have no idea how to contact him about it