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News: Great article, and the book seems like a must buy

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by BHendri5, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. BHendri5

    BHendri5 Well-Known Member

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    Anyone who has ever played football can relate to this, the two a day practices, the films, mettings etc. It get does get old, every player always hated the two a days, I know I did, it really comes down to how dedicated you are and the heart, and the love you have for the sport that keeps you going. Anyway here is the article:


    Wednesday, July 14, 2004


    Associated Press
    MINNEAPOLIS -- Robert Smith was the NFC's top rusher in 2000 with more than 1,500 yards. The Minnesota Vikings came within a game of the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. He was 28, a free agent-to-be at the height of his earning power.



    Smith



    And just like that, Smith walked away from professional football.


    He caught the Vikings and their fans by surprise, but maybe it wasn't such a shock. Hardly a typical NFL star, Smith sat out his sophomore season at Ohio State in 1991 to focus on schoolwork. Now he'd rather read about astronomy or head to the orchestra hall than sit down and watch a game.


    Smith was rarely seen or heard from since he quit, but he has resurfaced this summer to talk about his soon-to-be-available autobiography, "The Rest of the Iceberg: An Insider's View on the World of Sport and Celebrity."


    Though the book sheds some light on his sudden retirement, Smith uses it as a soap box -- pleading for a lessened importance placed by Americans on sports and athletes.


    "There's no way to escape it," Smith said in an interview this week from his home in Columbus, Ohio. "Just the level of attention you get really can be embarrassing, and it's frustrating, too, when you realize there are so many other people who have more important jobs.


    "Our society needs to stop focusing on athletes as role models or as being heroes."


    I had never been a big fan of football, and to have to spend all that time preparing to play a game really started to wear on me. It was like being caught in a remedial math class each week.


    Smith began working on the book while on vacation in Australia in December 2002, and his girlfriend has helped him edit it under 100,000 words. He has an agreement with a publisher, Inkwater Press, to print the book on demand possibly as soon as late next week. Plans are to promote it at Vikings training camp on Aug. 10.


    Smith's interests and intellect certainly stood out in the macho world of pro sports. Fascinating to some, condescending to others, Smith was undeniably unique.


    "Meetings, films, chalkboards, practice -- it all became very tedious for me," he writes in excerpts of the book provided to The Associated Press. "I had never been a big fan of football, and to have to spend all that time preparing to play a game really started to wear on me. It was like being caught in a remedial math class each week."


    He broaches a variety of subjects in the book, including race, education, media and, of course, his football career:



    A pallbearer at Korey Stringer's funeral, Smith writes about the grief upon learning his former college and pro teammate had died of heatstroke.


    "I sat there on the stairs crying for 20 minutes. I didn't know what to do next."



    Smith acknowledges conflict with teammates Cris Carter and Randy Moss.


    "It sounds funny for a man of 32 to say, but Randy's just part of a different generation. He walks around with a chip on his shoulder and often times doesn't respect authority. It's one of the unfortunate possible side effects of the hip-hop culture."


    In the interview, however, Smith scoffed at speculation that he retired because of Moss' attitude.


    "He is a young kid with a big mouth, but he's a great player and somebody that's been overwhelmed with his position and his stature," Smith said. "It's such a ridiculous idea that I quit because of him. I wouldn't have had to play there. I was a free agent."



    Smith details his final appearance, a 41-0 loss to the New York Giants in the NFC championship game. Asked about it this week, he said, "It was a great week of practice. It seemed like a great game plan, but you can't game plan for people's heart."


    Though he briefly considered a comeback after Stringer died in August 2001, Smith said his mind was made up about leaving the game well before that embarrassing loss to the Giants. He pondered joining former coach Dennis Green's staff in Arizona, but he said finishing the book was a higher priority.


    One day, he would like to do some coaching at the high school level, and his disappointment with the educational system could lead him to run for school board. Though medical school is no longer on his radar, he's part owner of a software company that manages healthcare networks.


    He keeps in touch with a few former teammates, but he rarely pays attention to the NFL. He's more concerned about getting people to look past the tip of the iceberg -- hence the book's title.


    "They'd rather take the shortcut and take what you hear and believe at face value," Smith said. "It's easy to do, but it can be very misleading."



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  2. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Now he's rumoured back at Arizona? The dude *** up. You have that talent you play, appears his plan b failed.
  3. Jimz31

    Jimz31 The Sarcastic One

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    You gotta respect him. Now, you can see why he didn't keep playing. His heart just wasn't in it. I agree with what was stated by him in the article.....too many times, athletes are put on a pedestal that they really don't deserve.
  4. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    Dude, it says he was thinking about going to Zona but decided to finish his book which is getting national press.

    You have any idea how huge that is in the publishing world?
  5. Bill Wooten

    Bill Wooten Active Member

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    I heard an interview with him the other day. He's got some valid points, but seemed to turn everything the host asked him back to the point that society shouldn't be upset about the amount of money that athletes make because it's society's fault for making sports such a big money industry.

    I agree that being a pro athlete doesn't make a person a role model. However, being put on a pedestal and being held to a higher standard comes with the territory. The pro athlete gets the money, fame, attention due to their profession and skills. With those perks comes the scrutiny and criticism when they screw up. The same thing goes for actors, politicians and anyone else in the public eye. That's just the way it works.

    Let me finish up by saying I haven't read this book. I'm only commenting on what I heard Smith say in a radio interview. He may not have done as good a job getting his points across in that medium than on paper.
  6. FuzzyLumpkins

    FuzzyLumpkins The Boognish

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    If the money did not go to the players it would go to the owners who sit in there luxury boxes for the most part and do very little.

    It may just be the proletariat in me but the players deserve most of the revenue generated.
  7. Bill Wooten

    Bill Wooten Active Member

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    You'll get no argument from me. I wasn't meaning to imply that I was upset over the amount of money they make. He just kept going back to that everytime the host questioned him. I think they deserve what they get and I'd want it if I were in their shoes.

    The radio interview just made him sound like he thought they deserved the money & fame, yet shouldn't be held to a higher standard than the regular joe. The point I have is that NFL Football Player guy, Actor guy, CEO guy is going to get a lot more media attention when they beat up their wife or get caught with weed than Auto Mechanic guy and Landscaper guy. He didn't seem to think that was fair and kept going back to the point that it is society's fault that they make that much money because they watch the NFL.

    Again, this was a radio interview and I'm assuming he conveys his points better in print.
  8. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    I did not hear the interview Bill, but I think I agree with that point. I don't know why fans complain about what athletes or owners make. If we did not support this system, they would not make that much money.

    I don't think the system is at all fair to the fans, but we continue to shell out money and complain about the system. But I don't hear the same complaints about actors or CEOs.

    IMO each owner should have to build his own stadium and they should pay the players what they can afford.
  9. es22

    es22 Member

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    Robert Smith is a class act. In college, he threatened his coach (Cooper at Ohio State) that he would quit the team if he didn't let him go to class. He was the prototypical student athelete.
  10. Bill Wooten

    Bill Wooten Active Member

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    Just to clarify, I meant none of my comments to come across as a knock on Smith's amount of class. I admire the fact that he put school above football and all that. That's great.

    As for leaving the NFL when he did, there are two ways to look at that. Some say it's great and he went out on his terms. However, it could be viewed as a lack of "desire" that defines the "great ones". From an outsider's perspective, it could be said that Smith didn't care about being a "great" one. He had an opportunity to make a lot of money using a god-given talent. He used the system to get that and walked away when he'd gotten what he wanted out of it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. As a person, he has some very admirable qualities. As a football player, I would question his desire and love for the game. The "great ones" do it because they love it and have a deep-seated desire to be the best. I don't see that in Smith's game.

    Again, not a knock on the person. A knock on the football player that person was.

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