No one likes people who ride on the fence. It seems the world is becoming more black and white than ever before, with no room for gray areas in between.
But after looking at DeMarcus Lawrence's situation, and having the opportunity to get to know him a little bit in the field, I think it's one with some shades of gray, if you will.
So far, I think most people have seen the video of & # 39; D-Law & # 39; walking into the parking lot following Sunday's win over the Giants when a young fan wearing a Giants' Saquon Barkley jersey approached him, calling him his name, and asking for an autograph. for the fan, but then said, "Get the right jersey, son."
Certainly not the first time a player has passed an autograph seeker. This has been going on for decades. It just gets captured on video more and more these days.
OK, here's what I'm going to do with: Obviously, he won't be signed by autographs. He will leave the stadium and will not stop anyone. He knows if he does, then maybe he'll be beaten for 50-1
Now, the minute he mentions the jersey, I think the whole situation will go to another level. Trust me when I say that I have seen some of the all-time sports fans do things for years to avoid signing autographs. I had a Hall of Famer ask to get my own suitcase as he walked into a hotel so he had both hands full and couldn't sign. I had a Pro Bowler this year ask me to do an interview with him in the field so he could avoid autograph seekers at training camp.
This is happening. We got it. However, most of them either have reason or act like they have never seen it.
When Lawrence said it was because he had a "wrong" jersey, it was a different story.
Personally, I wish he hadn't done that, mainly because of the backlash he was getting from it. I can say that I know him probably a little better than the average fan, and I know he not only loves fans, but he loves kids.
I actually followed his team last December on what I call the "best / worst" days of the year when we go to annual hospital visits. Some players just do the drill, put on Santa's hat with their jersey, and go to the rooms and smile and take pictures. D-Law goes to another level, not only asking them what they want for Christmas, but he writes the paper requests with their names. And I really followed along to see what he ended up doing, and decided that D-Law would make sure that all the kids he visited that day got their Christmas presents from him. "Not caring about children is wrong. I've seen the Chucky-Cheese man on not one, but two occasions. (Yes, I know that means I have to be regular too).
And it was only Tuesday night. , in his day, Lawrence had a community bowling event in Frisco where he helped about 100 children. to share stories about the D-Law side I saw.
But I would say this – and it goes back to the whole "gray area" of the story – Lawrence had to think about what kind of role he wanted to have in the sports world.
There were really good players, and he was one of them .There are regular NFL Pro Bowlers, and he's one of them now. But then there are elite superstars who really excel in the sport. We have some truly iconic, global players who are at a different level. ] And those those men are the people who are paid to see. Just look at the NBA. You probably have a dad who is a fan of the Dallas Mavericks but his son wants to go to the Warriors to get Steph Curry's autograph. I'm sure all of the "ooh" and "ahhs" in LeBron James's dunks aren't just from Lakers fans. Same with guys like Odell Beckham Jr., Patrick Mahomes and maybe Barkley. I wouldn't wonder if that kid was just a fan of the Giants because of Barkley.
I saw J.J. Watt played catch before games with a full front row of stands, throwing the ball back and forth to anyone and everyone – regardless of the jersey. And yes, I put him in that category too.
Now, that status is not for everyone. Maybe that's not a level D-Law wants or even cares to reach. But I assume most players want it. But to get there, a level of consistency is required of the fans, no matter what they are wearing.
At the end of the day, DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best of all these groups. Not only is he a great player, but he is a great man on the farm. I think he prides himself on being a "real" person.
The sad part is that the little clip that most of the world saw does not really describe who he is.