I have been writing for my hometown paper, The Daily Pilot, for several years now, commenting on a variety of news and issues surrounding the world of sports. This week, the news spread about my own plans, and I wanted to share the rationale and motivation with our readers.
In March of 2010 I entered Sober Living to deal with my growing problem with alcohol. I realized that until I put sobriety first, nothing else would be possible. I have had to work through the self-induced wreckage and relationships.
I am now deep into a fourth year of sobriety with the help of a unique fellowship and an extraordinary support system. Anyone who is feeling alone and despairing trying to get sober should know there is help available. For me, it has been a long and enlightening road back. The hiatus was a valuable and necessary learning experience. I was able to find clarity and a powerful sense of purpose for my life.
Last week we announced the launching of a new business: Steinberg Sports & Entertainment, to do representation, marketing and content supply.
The question you may be asking is why, with renewed energy and motivation, would I choose to reenter the often cutthroat world of sports?
The answer is simple. Sports, as much as any other aspect of our global culture, has the power to change the world.
My father stressed two core values: 1. Treasure relationships, especially family.
2. Make a positive impact in the world and help those who are in need and can't help themselves.
The world of sports is central to our humanity and offers unlimited opportunities to make a difference. Helping young people gain their own sense of purpose and motivation will enable them to prioritize values and develop a blueprint for a productive life. Values like self-respect, spiritual belief, a veneration of family and active participation in their community will serve them well for a lifetime and bring rewards beyond money.
First and foremost, professional athletes need to be successfully guided in their path to the draft in their respective sports.
Physical and mental preparation can significantly affect not only their draft position but their ability to deliver the goods in competition. Once drafted, they need expert contract negotiation while they do everything possible to prepare to compete, starting with being on time for training camp.
They are the people the fans pay to see, and football, in particular, is a dangerous game. These athletes deserve to receive financial security from their efforts. Being on time for camp — instead of holding out over contract negotiations — gives them the best chance of making an early impact. The best agents understand this, and are able to mentor athletes to prepare them for the physical and emotional demands of the game.
From Day One, professional athletes have the power of their personal brand to give back to their communities and inspire others to do the same. We have always encouraged athletes to retrace their roots, returning to the high school, collegiate and professional communities that have shaped them, to establish charitable programs that connect them, to create relationships and build a lasting legacy for themselves and their families.
Over 120 of our athletes have established high school scholarship funds. Former running back Edgerrin James endowed a college scholarship at the University of Miami, as did former first baseman Eric Karros at UCLA.
Running back Warrick Dunn created "Homes for the Holidays" in Tampa Bay and Atlanta, enlisting political, business and community leaders to help move single mothers into their first homes.
Kicker Rolf Benirschke formed "Kicks for Critters," a powerful animal welfare coalition in San Diego.
Quarterback Warren Moon has sent hundreds of students to college, granting partial scholarships with his "Crescent Moon Foundation."
Serving as active members of a community helps set the framework for a successful life after sports, and agents need to play a vital role in this process.
Athletes can also serve as role models, inspiring positive imitative behavior. Many people, especially adolescents, erect a perceptual screen that allows them to ignore authority figures and commercial messages, but an athlete can permeate that screen and impart basic core values.
When heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis cut a public service announcement that said, "Real Men Don't Hit Women," it did more to influence young attitudes toward domestic violence than the urgings of traditional authority figures.