If you missed the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night, you missed an unforgettable speech by former Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
When a player is inducted into the Hall of Fame, it’s as much of an individual moment as any in professional sports. But just as LT was as a player, he used that moment to show his selflessness.
Of course, LT talked about his achievements on the football field and he thanked those who got him there, including the generally loathed Dean Spanos. But Tomlinson then decided to use the platform to speak about topics that most people are afraid to touch on.
He brought up the fact that his great-great-great grandfather was a slave. Tomlinson knows his roots, much more than most people do, in fact. But he’s not afraid to talk about them. He’s also not afraid to use those roots as an example that can bring more people together.
“On America’s team, let’s not choose to be against one another. Let’s choose to be for one another. My great-great-great grandfather had no choice. We have one. I pray we dedicate ourselves to being the best team we can be, working and living together, representing the highest ideals of mankind. Leading the way for all nations to follow”. said the former running back who ranks No. 5 on the all-time leading rushing list.
When certain individuals make a statement, those who don’t normally listen start to pay attention. This could be one of those times, which is why Tomlinson’s speech was so powerful.
Tomlinson wasn’t the only player to touch on a major social issue. Kenny Easley made some strong comments and the always religious Kurt Warner finished his speech, and the night, but shouting “Thank you Jesus!”
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Still, it was Tomlinson’s words that seemed the most powerful. In fact, it was the type of speech that people will talk about for years to come.
“I’m asking you to believe in your ability to bring about change, to hold fast to the faith and the idea whispered by slaves: Yes, we can”, said Tomlinson.
That is a strong statement. That is an unforgettable statement.
Tomlinson went into his Hall of Fame induction with a legion of fans from his days as perhaps the greatest player to ever wear a jersey for the San Diego Chargers. But on Saturday night, he likely left Canton, Ohio with many, many more.
To view Tomlinson’s full speech, click here.