June 8, 2020

The name on the back

Ethan Sands

Walking into a newsroom and understanding that you have to work harder than anyone to be successful is the mindset black journalists must have to distinguish themselves.

That gem was the biggest piece of advice I took away from class’ call with Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards on Wednesday.

“Life’s not about fairness, but about opportunity,” Edwards said.

I have never been given anything in my life. Everything that I have, I’ve earned. The ability to create opportunities for myself is addicting. Once I understood the potential of open doors, I put myself in position to be successful.

Journalism is a competitive industry and you have to find ways to elevate yourself above the competition.

Michael Wilbon, an ESPN commentator, spoke to the class Tuesday about the importance of having a competitive edge.

“Everybody is watching, let your work speak for itself,” Wilbon said.

Naturally, I’m an extremely competitive person, playing sports all of my life. I have carried these attributes into my work.

The world needs more black storytellers, and Edwards applauds the younger generation for telling stories that are sometimes hidden.

“When it becomes publicly known, then the conversation starts,” Edwards said.

Colin Kaepernick is a testament to creating your own story, and continuing to fight for what he believes to be right.

Kaepernick never let the media or organizations he worked for deter him from his goal. Now, more than ever, people are beginning to realize the message behind kneeling for the national anthem.

The option to back away from complications is always there, but the opportunity to learn from others, become comfortable in an uncomfortable situation, fight for what you believe in and compete every day will earn you the name that’s on the back of the jersey.

The only thing that you truly own.

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