Michigan State’s quarterback Kirk Cousins is arguably one of the best quarterbacks in college football. He is certainly one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten Conference.
Most impressively, however, he is the kind of college athlete you want your children to look up to.
I did not know much about Kirk Cousins before last season. In 2010 he led his Spartans to an 11-2 record, throwing for a total of 2,825 yards, 20 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.
As a Pac-12 guy, rooting for my Oregon Ducks, I have got used to reading breaking news stories about college football players getting into trouble with the law, so I did not expect anything different when I read Saturday’s New York Times and came across Pete Thamel’s story about Kirk Cousins.
Instead, I found a story about a guy, who is humbled, successful and has realized that playing college football is a privilege and not a right.
As he said in his speech at the Big Ten news media luncheon on July 29: “While many children dream of playing college football relatively few have the opportunity, and to be living that dream is a privilege.”
He is absolutely right about this fact, which makes it even harder to understand why so many players throw this privilege away by doing stupid things, such as getting in bar fights or speeding at 118 mph under the influence of drugs.
I cannot and will not accept excuses like, they are college students and as we all know college students do stupid things.
Those players have been given privileges—education free of charge, media exposure—regular students don’t have, and because of that I expect them not to do the stupid things other students do.
The majority of college football players understand it and act accordingly.
It’s only a minority of players that still have not understood that with the privilege of representing his university on the football field comes a certain set of responsibility, far greater responsibility than for any other student.
Kirk Cousins might not be the biggest, fastest or strongest college quarterback, and even if he does not make it to the NFL, I’m certain he will make his way in life.
With his speech in July he has won many new fans including myself, and provided an example of what a college athlete should be—a role model for our children.