Overall, the symposium does a good job of using both scare tactics and education as tools to get through to the players. High profile retired players share their personal experiences with the rookies, which can have a powerful impact. Experts from all fields give practical advice on how to make good decisions, along with explaing the consequences that come with bad ones.
I will have four rookies in attendance, all of whom are excited about the chance to learn from both the vets and the experts. After the conclusion of the symposium, I will get a debriefing from my rookies and let them know I am always available to help them with any decisions. Continuing education for all NFL players is a never-ending process. Each NFL team employs a player development executive who is responsible for guiding vets and rookies alike through the challenges of everyday life as an NFL player.
Pro athletes have to grow up fast if they want to manage their business, social and family affairs successfully. Unfortunately, the job of a pro athlete can also extend adolescence if a player decides to let everyone handle everything for them. By Thursday of this week, 254 pro athletes will be better prepared to face the world.
Not surprisingly, I'm of two minds on the whole proceeding.
On the one hand, I think its great that the league has taken it upon themselves (albeit after receiving pressure from the NFLPA and the public) to try and start an education process early when it comes to their latest influx of talent. Anything that helps empower these young men to make good decisions is obviously a positive.
On the other hand, why is it the NFL's responsibility to dole out common sense? And how much good is it really doing? (Just this morning Cedric Benson was arrested and charged with assault stemming from an incident in Austin back on May 30th - maybe we need a 5th Year Player Symposium)
There's always going to be this type of idiotic element mixed in with the general NFL populace no matter how many meetings they are made to sit through.
I don't know. Maybe the positives outweigh the negatives here. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood.
I truly hope so.
UPDATE: Good perspective here from Len Pasquarelli.
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