Yesterday the football watching world was treated to a brawl. A knock down, drag out, fourth grade school yard kind of brawl. Helmets were ripped off and punches were thrown and when the dust settled the I called my children front and center to learn an important lesson.
It was a teachable moment in my household. An example of how to stand up for yourself and say enough is enough. I am certainly not an advocate for solving problems with your fists, HOWEVER, I also think that kids need to learn that it is not okay to let another person push you around.
You see, as I learned in a few simple Google searches, Tennessee Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan is a bully. He desires to be the "NFL's Dirtiest Player."
Texan's #80 was featured November 2 in an in-depth profile on ESPN E:60. This revealed Johnson's commitment to 10 year old Cyril Jones Jr. Cyril Jr. is Johnson's godson, child of the late Cyril Jones.
Jones and Johnson were best friends, nearly brothers, teammates on the Miami Hurricanes. After Jones became entangled in Miami's drug scene and was found shot to death in 2002 Johnson stepped up and became a father figure for then 2 year-old Cyril Jr.
Johnson provides financially and as a father-figure for this young man. He visits frequently and is an ever present mentor. For his dedication to Cyril he seeks no fanfare, he is self-less and unassuming and leads by example.
Johnson's reputation for quiet leadership dates back to his days with the Hurricanes, as co-MVP of the 2002 Rose Bowl he was known as a player who "shuts up and lets his game do the talking." His 1,831 receiving yards is still ranked 5th on the University of Miami's all-time career list.
Among his other credits Johnson created the Andre Johnson Foundation in 2003 which supports children and teens being raised in single parent homes and raises his own daughter born in February 2010.
To deliver the message we took some time to explain to our children what was happening before the fight broke out. We explained to them that Cortland Finnegan is a dirty player. We explained to them what that means. We allowed this spectacle of two grown men, two highly paid professional athletes acting like children be a lesson in standing up for yourself.
As the mother of a oversized 6 year-old with a gentle, empathetic soul I felt it was imperative to show him sometimes you have to show the other guy who really is boss.
As the mother of the a small, scrappy 4 year-old with a mischievous, trouble making streak I felt it was imperative to show him that sometimes the other guy will level you when he has had enough.
As the mother of a sweet and spunky 2 year-old with big brothers I felt it was imperative to show her exactly what will happen to anyone who messes with her.
You may question my methods or debate the message. That is your prerogative.
For my part I am just hopeful that my monkeys got it loud and clear.