Rob Davis, Brandon Johnson, Tim Terry and Carl Hairston discuss African-American issues in the Packers Hall of Fame
To commemorate Black History Month, the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame held a panel discussion Thursday night broaching African-American issues and their contributions to the league, the community and beyond.
Defensive tackle Colin Cole, long snapper Rob Davis, defensive ends coach Carl Hairston, offensive quality control coach Ty Knott, director of player development/pro personnel assistant Tim Terry, and strength & conditioning assistant Brandon Johnson participated in the hour-long discussion, which included an open dialogue of personal experiences and life lessons that could benefit children of any race, creed or color in living a virtuous life.
Education and hard work were two of the most talked about topics during the discussion, as panelists recalled stories from their formative years to show how they've been so successful.
Terry told a story which took place before his senior year in high school, when his father woke him up daily at 6:30 a.m. for one week to move logs from the back of a truck to a fence in his backyard. He would carry them, log-by-log, to the fence, and stack them with the others.
As Terry finished stacking the logs, his father had a truck back in another load. This happened once more the next morning. Afterward, Terry's father offered an explanation.
"I really don't need those logs," his father admitted. "The reason I had you do that is you can go to school and act silly and play around if you want to, but if you come home failing that class, this is what I've got waiting for you every day."
The work ethic instilled in Terry that summer stays with him today, which has helped him as director of player development in acclimating players to their roles, on and off the field.
With the average NFL career at approximately 2.5 years, education is vitally important for athletes to have a leg to stand on when their playing days are over. Panelists were asked what advice they could impress upon upcoming athletes.
"I would tell them to definitely focus on their education, first and foremost," Cole said. "This is a tough league to be a part of. There are thousands of guys that have come through those doors and walked out without two nickels to rub together."
The panelists also discussed how things have improved drastically since the civil rights movement, but there are still hurdles to clear and attitudes to change.
"In 1997, I came up here and worked Robert Brooks' football camp and we went to a restaurant and the person wouldn't serve us," Knott said. "Someone else came to serve us."
Rob Davis explained that he believes prejudice is not an inborn quality, but is taught. As time goes on, he's hopeful that complete racial equality isn't far away and situations like Knott's become a thing of the past.
"Sometimes that hatred is deep-rooted," Davis said. "No matter what you say, it's not going to change his opinion. No problem. Just respect me. You don't have to like me, but you do have to respect me."