Families across the country are on pins and needles today waiting for the results of National Signing Day. It can bring about a bevy of anxiety for athletes as they take a look back at their exposure with the media and their fans. Unfortunately today, it is almost impossible for a top notch athlete to go unnoticed in the media. The slightest hiccup in their life can be misconstrued and create a public persona that may not be as favorable as they would have liked. It is more important now than ever for popular athletes to remain a squeaky clean image at all times. Last week’s Super Bowl showed us just how much the public craves a marketable athlete. In countless interviews, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has expressed his disdain for speaking with the media. A man of very few words, Lynch goes into “Beast Mode” on the field, but prefers to stay away from the lights of the cameras. This year’s Super Bowl Media Day was a bit comical as Lynch was filmed repeatedly saying “I’m just here so I don’t get fined”. Lynch’s loophole to mandatory interviews provided comic relief for some of his fans, but for others drew adversarial looks. For those who have followed Lynch in the media, it is clear that his only desire is to get out there on the field and do what he loves. There are other well-known athletes that perhaps should have taken a page from Lynch’s book and refrained from making public comments as much. Athletes Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel have been publicly scrutinized for being outspoken in their personal lives and allowing the media and other onlookers to display facets of their personality that have nothing to do with the game of football. While some athletes have benefited from excessive media exposure, for someone like Michael Sam it has actually been the Achilles heel of his career. Sam argues that his public persona cost him his career, as he allowed cameras to follow him and document his life as an openly gay football player. Whether that’s true or not is still up for debate, as the public never did get a firm grip on just how much Sam would flourish on the field in his professional career. But what we do know is that had Sam not embraced opportunities to speak about his personal life that his short lived career would be debated in an entirely different bubble than the one the media allowed him to create. The road to being publicly embraced as an athlete begins very early on in an athlete’s career. It is not uncommon for people to dig into someone’s history at the slightest sign of discomfort. The very first thing the media looked for in the Ray Rice case was the background and behavioral patterns of Rice and his now wife. The two were publicly scrutinized, analyzed, and investigated with theories on their previous behavioral patterns. People want to be able to put the puzzle pieces together and figure out the core of the person they are watching on television. Just seeing their face and listening to a recap of their performance is no longer enough. People want an inside view of everything from breakfast preferences to family history in order to enjoy seeing you carry a ball. With social media networks displaying every breath we take, college athletes now have to live under the radar much more than ever. Appearances at certain events or association with certain people can make or break their careers before they even get to the draft. High School athletes must be prepared to ensure that their image is untainted from the day they step foot on a college campus. As a college athlete, trouble with the law can lead to academic and athletic suspensions, and permanent record damage that will hurt their chances at a career in professional sports. Teams across the country are increasing their affiliation with community related events and academic endeavors that will increase the appeal for their athletes in the future. Student athletes are encouraged today to build diverse resumes that will solidify a positive personal image, and ultimately lead to a longer and more successful career. Guidance from coaches, athletic support staff, and other mentors can ensure that an athlete has a firm grip on a positive future in sports.
Billingslea Media is excited to welcome former East Carolina University and NFL Wide Receiver Terrance Copper. The Washington NC native has enjoyed a lucrative career with several teams in the NFL since 2004, and most recently enjoyed a home base with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-2013. Copper has prided himself on taking part in activities that allow to give back to his community, and celebrate the legacy he created in the small town of Washington NC.
Copper had a very successful career at East Carolina University as a receiver. As a senior, in 2003, he led Conference USA with 87 receptions which, at the time, was an ECU single season record. He was signed as a free agent in 2004 by the Dallas Cowboys. As a rookie he played in 10 games, had 7 receptions for 84 yards, but his contributions came on special teams, where he had 14 tackles and returned 16 kickoffs for 307 yards. After playing for two years with the Cowboys, Copper played for the New Orleans Saints, the Baltimore Ravens, and then the Kansas City Chiefs. Copper played for the Chiefs from 2009 until 2013.
In 2013 Copper returned home and has since been very active in his community. This year marks the 4th year of his annual football camp in his hometown of Washington NC. The camp is organized by members of the Washington Police Department in an effort to strengthen community ties. Copper has enlisted the help of several NFL players including former teammates from his college and professional careers. This year the camp has expanded and will include a basketball camp, and a community day. Sponsors throughout the community have come together and provided donations for the community day on Friday evening. The free event will consist of a cookout, music, games, and an autograph session.The event will be held at Festival Park on the Washington waterfront. The following day youth ages 7-17 can participate in a free football camp from 8am-12pm and a free basketball camp from 2pm-5pm.
Businesses in the NY and NJ are preparing for a great boast in off-season tourism due to Super Bowl XLVIII. As the Seahawks and the Broncos prepare to go face to face, the city is preparing for a series of activities to rival Mardi Gras any day.
While tickets for the widely anticipated event are upwards of over $2,000, more expense is being poured into the social life surrounding the game. Ticket sales have actually plummeted compared to the sale of tickets during the Playoffs. The main attraction is outside of the stadium with parties and concerts in both NY and NJ. Without even attending the game, football fans can enjoy the perks of the Superbowl. Attendees and fans can attend the Official NFL Tailgate Party that you can enjoy for a measly $2,485. The family friendly event at the Meadowlands will feature lavish food stations, autograph signings with athletes, and performances by One Republic and Matchbox Twenty.
Streets located around the MetLife Stadium in Secaucus will have dozens of food trucks, a beer garden, and an ice skating rink. In NY there is Superbowl Boulevard that cuts through Times Square and will have everything from free coffee and ice cream to NFL stars giving free autographs, and the 60-foot-tall, 180 foot long toboggan run. With the diversity of activities throughout the area, there is a chance for every fan to have their own unique Superbowl experience.