Meet Mryon Rolle, a four-year starting safety for Florida State University… and a Rhodes Scholar recipient.
In a sport where raw machismo is much more valued than mental dexterity, Rolle is a shining example of a consummate student athlete. He excels both in football and academic learning. And recently, he’s made his difficult decision on whether to play in the NFL or study at Oxford University next year: He will be studying medical anthropology.
This decision will most likely be costing him millions of dollars in potential earnings. Nonetheless, he explained in an interview with ESPN.com, “It’s a great opportunity. I’m going to get the chance to study at Oxford and read some incredible books and be among scholars. The whole culture in England is just very appealing. It will make me a better person and a stronger advocate.”
Myron’s dream is to someday help bring specialized medicine to underdeveloped countries. He still plans to eventually play in the NFL and will enter the 2010 draft after his studies in Oxford.
To me, what’s truly inspirational about Mryon Rolle’s story is that he combines superb athletic ability WITH amazing intellect WITH tremendous personal character. Many times these traits tend to be mutually exclusive. A superb athlete often times are coddled and allowed to live above societal rules. In football, we have some examples of athletes displaying extremely poor judgement: Pacman Jones, OJ Simpson, Michael Vick to name just a few. What personal character?
In other cases, we have the Terrill Owens’ types who are so narcissistic that he becomes a cancer with every team he ever plays for — despite having extraordinary football skills. He is a bad example of personal character. Yet, he is constantly featured on ESPN highlights — and not just for playing football. In the work place, I’ll take capable and team-oriented individuals over a team of “TO -type” of superstars every single time. That’s because from years of experience, I know how to achieve success within the business environment. It takes a team of Myron Rolle’s.
So, in this era of the internet when “the” people can help determine the content of our news, let’s hold up Myron Rolle and others like him as our heroes. If you blog, blog about them. If you tweat, tweat about them. If so inclined, comment on Jamele Hill’s (ESPN.com) column about Mryon Rolle. Let’s make it clear to the sports media that we still value personal character, sportsmanship.
The Rhodes Scholarship is considered the world’s most prestigious postgraduate academic scholarship. Mryon Rolle becomes the most prominent student-athlete to win the award since Bill Brady at Princeton in 1965.