USA TODAY recently had pictures of the new NFL uniforms under the headline: “Nike’s new NFL uniforms built for speed and comfort.” Some may like them; some may not.
What comes to mind is: OK, a new uniform on the outside, but what is being done for the NFL player on the inside? With the bounty issue and the tragic untimely death of players plus felony arrests, what can be done to make NFL players significant over and above their success between the lines of the field?
Fellow CPAE speaker Hall of Famer Dan Clark, a former athlete, has a new book coming out in February 2013 titled “Significance — When Success Is Not Enough.” NFL sports stars are role models not just for our young people, but for people in all walks of life. NFL players can provide great lessons in preparation, perseverance, goal setting, and the will to be successful.
Clark is a professional speaker who works with businesses and corporations to help them not only become successful, but significant as well. He has developed a program for NFL players that he calls (ready for this?) “Charm School.”
No, Clark isn’t thinking of charm as “glamour on the runway.” He does believe the value of the professional athlete is being wasted, and therefore tutors them in media training as well as helping them write and deliver an inspirational message.
This “charm” is in the significance that the athlete can give back to humanity. Having been on the field with thousands of those athletes in my 31 years as an NFL game official, I have witnessed so many who have helped others both on and off the field. Yet, I have also noticed those who are in the game for what they can get out of it and nothing more—surely a waste of talent.
Charm school can help athletes in all professional sports speak better, behave better and become more productive in helping others. This is not so much a rant on today’s players as it is a call to action. NFL football is the most popular sport in the world today, and its significance can be embedded throughout all of society only if those administering and playing the sport do all that is necessary to make it so.
Will you recognize the significance in what you can contribute to others?