As the reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis has long been an outstanding role model who gives back considerable amounts of his time for his local community.
And given how much good he does in his free time, Davis finds it hard to read headlines that detail fellow NFL players who get into trouble away from the field.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports and BritViewNFL, Davis told me:
“It’s very frustrating. And the reason it’s so frustrating is because there are so many things players can be doing or places they can be going that can off-set some of the stuff that is going on around the league during the off-season. I feel like if guys volunteered their time more and did more in the community it would take away some of that free time which allows them to go out there and make those kind of mistakes.”
Davis also points out that there can really be no excuses for NFL players who find themselves in trouble.
“At a very young age, we’re all taught right from wrong. So you know when you’re being put in a compromising position or you know when things are heading down a wrong path and it’s time to get out of there. Guys get so caught up with thinking they can get away with certain things but if you look at the news, week in and week out, you’re getting caught. At some point we have to realise that right, wrong or indifferent, we have a target on our backs and it’s up to us to do with that information what we see fit.”
Davis, who is preparing for his 11th season in the NFL, was visiting the UK for grassroots American football activity over the weekend. During his stay in London, he admitted to being proud of the positive example he sets as an NFL player.
“It’s up to us to know that we have to use this platform for the right reasons. I absolutely see myself as a role model – that comes with the territory as an NFL player. We are looked at and viewed by so many people and our biggest audience is, without a doubt, the kids. It’s up to us to set a positive example and do things the right way.”
You can watch Neil Reynolds’ full interview with Thomas Davis during Sky Sports coverage of the 2015 NFL season.