Texas is getting ready to welcome two seasons – autumn and football. And as usual, fans of the pros, college and high school teams are ready.
Daron Roberts is the founding directing of the Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation at the University of Texas at Austin. He’s also a former NFL coach and the author of the book “Call An Audible.” He says Dallas Cowboys’ star running back Ezekiel Elliott is in the news for missing five training camp practices, as he holds out for a new contract. Elliott has made news before – he was suspended for six games in 2017 after accusations of domestic violence. Elliott is arguably the best and most important player on the team, Roberts says, and he’s in a battle with Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones.
“On the one hand, you can see where Jones doesn’t want to set a bad precedent,” Roberts says. “On the other hand, he knows that he needs him.”
Up north, the New England Patriots have extended the contract of their six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback, Tom Brady. But unlike Elliott, who is vying for more money, Brady’s compensation will be below market value, Roberts says.
Each team has a salary cap. Brady taking less money means more can be allocated to other members of the team, Roberts says.
“It’s a telling point when you have the best player on a team and arguably the best player in the history of the game, taking less money in order to build up the roster of his team,” Roberts says.
The Texas Longhorns football team is ranked in the top ten, in preseason rankings. The Longhorns are set to play LSU this fall – a team that is also ranked in the top ten – making for a high-stakes game early in the Longhorns’ schedule.
“I can hear the Texas fans saying ‘we’re back,’“ Roberts says.
With high school athletes already practicing for the upcoming season, Roberts advises parents to keep some perspective.
“I always say that make sure your son or daughter is spending as much time practicing as they are in their ACT book,” Roberts says. “Also, hold coaches accountable. If you’re at practices and you hear some coaches using some language that they shouldn’t be using… I think it’s up to parents. We got to set a standard to say that we don’t want our young people to be coached in that way.”
As seriously as sports fans take these games, Roberts says parents should remember that these are teenagers trying to enjoy the moment.
“Please just let your son or daughter have fun,” Roberts says.
Written by Geronimo Perez.