White Hat Sports Headlines

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Dream Deferred

Picture this, if you will...
Joe is a college student at a private university, and he is getting ready to graduate. He has a bright future ahead of him, has achieved what most consider the highest level in his respective major, and is now getting ready for the real world. Joe gets rewarded for his hard work and is signed into a contract by a top level company, and is getting ready to live his dream. However, he also made a commitment when he started college that he would work for a different company. The other company at the time said they would allow him the opportunity to pursue his dreams as long as he also maintained a relationship with them, and eventually went to work for them later on. Now said other company is backing out of their written agreement, and stating that Joe must come work for them now. Joe takes it well, stating that he knew he had prior commitments, and while he wanted to pursue both dreams, he was ok with living one. Sounds like a good kid getting screwed over doesn't it?

Meet Caleb Campbell. He is a graduate from Westpoint, a military school. He also played football for their team, and excelled at his position of safety, so much so in fact he was drafted into the highest football league in the world by the Detroit Lions. His military contract stated that he would be allowed to play in the NFL if he was drafted, and could serve as a recruiter till his NFL career was over. Today it was announced the military has changed it's policies, and will not allow Campbell to play in the NFL, but will instead force him into military duty.

There are so many things wrong with this. One, the military isn't playing this correctly. After taking public relations classes I can tell you the military needs all the good press they can get, and this guy could've been a step in that direction, a guy who serves his country while living his dream. Plus, what better way to recruit new members than telling them to meet with an NFL player.

Two, they changed the policy after Campbell was led to believe he could play in the NFL. He was ready to live two dreams; to play in the NFL and serve his country. Now, he is being forced into one. The military says they will allow him to ask to be released in May of 2010, but in a league like the NFL your career tends to be shorter than most. Plus, who's to say they don't just "change the policy" at their convenience.

And three (this is what really burns me) the media is not jumping on this. It's an injustice to Campbell, and although he's taking it well he shouldn't be in this situation. The media has the power to create change, to shed light on injustices, and that is clearly what should be done in this situation.

It's an unfortunate situation, but it has shed some light on the falsities of the so-called "American dream". In the end, maybe Campbell will get his chance to pursue his dream, but maybe he won't. One thing is sure though; you won't hear Campbell complain. He, unlike his country, stays true to his word.

~Aaron Jackson


Anonymous said...

I have no problem with Campbell being forced to honor his military commitments. David Robinson did this after graduating from the Naval Academy, and so did Patriots' fullback Kyle Eckel. Its the fact that the Army changed their mind after the fact. It sends a real bad message to the country about the Army that they would change their policy after all the good pulicity they got from Campbell being on ESPN during the draft. It also really sucks for the Detroit Lions. I read somewhere that if he doesn't suit up for the Lions, then he will be eligible to enter either the 2009 or 2010 draft. I'm not sure if this is correct, but even if it isn't the Lions got screwed. This isn't Matt Millen making dumb decisions. Sometimes teams draft players who never play for that team, sadly like Boston Celtic draftee Len Bias. However, the Lions and the other 31 teams were under the impression that Campbell could play if drafted. Now the Army changed their mind. While I think Campbell should be made to honor his commitment, although it would be nice to see him play and promote the Army, the Lions should get compensated for the pick because this is out of their control.

White Hat Sports said...

I agree. I didn't really talk much about the issue from the Lion's point of view, but you are right, they get screwed over pretty hard too.

~Aaron Jackson