“That’s wrong. You’re not giving back to the community. You’re taking from the community.”
Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith isn’t mincing any words when it comes to his NFL peers who are using young fans to make a quick buck. In this Instagram video posted last week, he calls any players who charge kids to attend their off-season camps “suckers.”
“Y’all, suckers, bro,” Telvin says in the video. “That ain’t even cool on any level.”
Smith hosted his first camp last year at his old high school in Georgia, but he didn’t charge kids to attend.
Smith’s Instagram account is locked, but the original video rant has been reposted via the account below.
He later elaborated to ESPN on the matter:
I keep saying robbing these kids because I feel that’s what we’re doing,” said Smith. “We’re in the NFL. We’re in a multibillion corporation. You can write that off on your taxes, but you’re charging these kids? There’s no part of it that’s right.
Critics would argue that, as of June 2016, the average NFL career is 3.3 years, while the average contract is about $2 million per year. Players try to augment those earnings with endorsements and other opportunities, such as camps. Smith remains steadfast that these camps are a public service, not a profit center. Anyone claiming to conduct these paid camps in the public interest is rationalizing, he says.
“That’s wrong. You’re not giving back to the community. You’re taking from the community,” he says.
Currently, most camps charge children for attendance, though many divert some or all of the proceeds to charities.