Sam Bradford's choice to return to college this season instead of becoming a multimillionaire NFL player went against much of the values in American society. I simply want to speak of two ways Bradford's choice, as a famous athlete, was counter cultural.
Remember the timing. It was January of this year. A new President had taken office. The American economy was in the tank. Economic recovery—getting back to where we were, as if that's going to bring us happiness—was all the rage. Fear, job loss, decreased or wiped out credit, loss of house and home.
These were, and still are, the issues on the minds of individuals in our country.
Bradford would have to have been Vincent Van Gogh to not hear the cry, "Get yours while you can. Things are bad. Heck, even the NFL might not be able to pay you as much next year. Better get on with your life while you can. Lock up your security."
Bradford stood in the pocket and delivered a strong message, "I'm not going to get sacked by the hallucinogenic stimulant of fear. I'm returning to college and to that lifestyle I enjoy so much. I'll be content with simplicity. I'll have a little less cash in my pocket—or a lot less—but I'm choosing to be a good teammate and friend over the idol of money."
In addition, Bradford's decision took place in the cell of his own soul. That was a second way Bradford was counter cultural. In our consuming society, where greed, laziness, and irresponsibility are as common as Wall Street bonuses and bank closings, Bradford did the hard work of acquiring wisdom. He examined all his options and held fast to that which was, for him, good.
Group think will always be group think, no matter its good intentions. Group think would have led Bradford into instant fame and fortune.
Bradford, in deciding to live his life with integrity and responsibility that was right for him, suggested there is much more to life than money.
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