Hey there, Friend!
I hope you’re having a great week so far! I’ve been busy over here on my end, keeping fit doing my offseason/preseason training, spending some quality time with my wife and two boys and working with the Perfect Soccer team.
As I’m still in my free agency here, I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking back over the past season and the time I spent at D.C. United.
Recently, while speaking with Earl (my former teammate, current MSL Mentee and D.C. United Goalkeeper) I remembered an incident that happened in the 2019 preseason and how that impacted how the relationship between us initially started; with the “N-word.”
I’d really like to share part of the story with you today.
The first time Earl and I “met” was during the 2019 preseason with D.C. United.
After that, Earl thought I was a complete idiot and ignored my existence for the first three to four months of being on the same team together and locker mates.
Which means we literally sat right next to each other, and it may as well have been that we were on opposite sides of the planet.
How do we go from that, to Earl being the first graduate of the MSL Masters program, my Mentee and a Perfect Soccer intern, team member and ambassador?
I originally signed with D.C. United towards the end of February and joined them in March. We were at the Saint James (a really great facility out in Virginia), and it was maybe the first or second day of training.
So, the HR department and league staff show up, like they do every year, to give their orientation.
This meeting happens every year and is an opportunity for players to learn what the rules are, if there are any new rules, what players should be aware of, and especially, what you can and cannot say or do.
At our orientation, there was a gentleman walking through a powerpoint presentation, speaking to us about what terms we are not permitted to say, on or off the field.
Basically, if you use any of this type of vulgar language and are caught you will be reprimanded, disciplined, and fined.
What I’ve always found most interesting is that when these types of presentations are happening, the presenter goes to the board and they clearly lay out all the words you cannot say.
You know, the typical homophobic slurs, race-based slurs… and they’re all written out.
All of this vulgar language is put up on the board and there so you visibly can see, spelled out, what you can and can’t say.
Which is a good thing, and necessary to do.
What I’ve always tended to notice though, especially in this league (and maybe it is this way in the majority of leagues), is there is always heightened “sensitivity” when it comes to the race side.
I say sensitivity in quotes because it isn’t sensitivity, it’s just blatantly ignoring its existence.
On the board, it said, ‘you cannot say the N-word,’ but that was all that was written, ‘the N-word.’
Every other word was written out. Every, other, word. But not, ‘the N-word.”
So, imagine you’re me, Quincy, a white player…
Did I make you do a double take when I said, white player? If so, how come?
I am white.
lol. Anyway, that’s not the point of todays newsletter, but yes I am also Nigerian and Native American.
And being biracial in America means you are viewed as non white, I understand that.
Though I do find it funny that depending on where I am, dictates what race/ethnicity people view me and treat me as. (But we’ll save that for another article/time.)
So to re-establish, you’re me, Quincy a black player, and ALL of these horrible homophobic and racial slurs are written out in all their glory, so to speak, but when it comes to this term, all that is written is ‘the N-word.’
As you may know, I have a bit of twisted sense of humor, at least this is what I think most of my friends would say.
I find irony and sarcasm extremely funny and I have a dark sense of humor at most times.
I guess that’s what’s necessary to survive the MSL.
This is my first time and interaction with the team at all in general. Now, I don’t mind kind of setting the tone early in terms of, ‘Hey, this is who I am.’
I’m always genuine and honest about who I am. Most times you’re either going to understand it, or not; it is what it is.
Most players waste too much time on people who wish to provide them zero value, investing in people who take all they can from you and toss you to the side when they’re done.
Unfortunately, most players have to learn this the hard way.
I think for the most part, approaching life and in this case sports this way establishes an environment where people make up their minds about me quickly, which is especially valuable in a professional sports environment.
They think I’m smart or clever, they understand that I’m being sarcastic or funny, or they think I’m a complete idiot.
Anyway, the guy who was presenting happened to be white.
As he read, he was visibly growing more and more nervous as he was reading through the words that you can’t say.
Then he got to the N-word.
He quickly mumbled under his breath in the same way you do to yourself when you think someone is waving at you and realize it was meant for the person behind you,
‘annnddd can’t say the N-word.’ Quickly moving on to the next point in the presentation.
I had raised my hand (and mind you, I would only recommend doing something like this if you understand why you’re doing it and are willing to do the work to overcome what will result of it).
Most of the guys don’t even know me at all, I haven’t had a conversation with anyone really, as of at this point in time.
So, I had raised my hand and the guy had called on me and I’d looked up and I pointed to the board and said,
‘Hey, you know, I see, I understand all these words, but uh, but what’s the N-word?’
Of course, the presenter got even more nervous. He was on the hot seat for a little bit, because of course, this is a topic most choose to ignore.
He responded, “What do you mean?”
I said, “The N-word. What’s the N-word? Like I don’t understand, what is it?”
He stood there shocked for a little bit, not knowing what to do.
I thought it was funny because I’m me. Of course, then l let him know, ‘Hey man, I’m just messing with you.’
I thought it was funny and I went about my business, you know, the rest of the preseason.
I did my work, got voted as the union rep for the team by the players within the week (maybe I’ll share that story another time).
Worked with each and every guy in the locker room over the course of several months and the year (still working with a few to date) and didn’t really think much of it other than just that moment.
I thought it was funny and moved on.But just like I had mentioned earlier, some people choose to think that I’m “just an idiot.”
Earl happened to be one of those people, and that incident at the start of preseason was his justification for doing so.
This is something I didn’t realize and learn until Earl and I spoke at a much later time. We didn’t have our first conversation until about 3 to 4 months into the season.
After he had seen all the work and some of the results of the conversations I had been having with all my teammates who chose to take the time to have a conversation with me.
He did not speak to me for the first three to four months of my time at the organization. All because of that joke in that moment at that time.
Since then, we’ve developed a very good relationship and because of that incident, I believe our relationship is much stronger.
I’ve learned so much from Earl this year and am grateful for our friendship.
His willingness to admit to and share his mistakes is a rare yet valuable skill, especially in the world of professional sports.
He has shown me what I was unable to understand before, because up to this point in my career I had never had someone who was willing to take the time to speak with me so that I could understand.
It might seem trivial to you, but when someone makes me “mad” or says something “offensive” I’ve always gone to speak with them so I can understand where they are coming from.
I’ve always looked at it as an opportunity to learn something new. That I may be the one who is wrong to be offended.
Because of that, I couldn’t ever understand the counter perspective. Until now.
The fact that I had done something that made Earl think I was a genuine idiot was something I would have never have known about, had he not been willing to admit that he may be wrong about me, and choose to invest the time to learn more.
I’m forever grateful for him doing that.
This situation makes me think about how one moment or one impression can solidify someone’s perspective on you and cause them to write you off completely and choose not to help you.
In many cases using a misunderstanding as justification to prevent you from moving forward and you’d never be aware of it happening.
They might not know you; they might not understand who you are or what you stand for, but they’ve chosen not to.
And that can have real consequences, ones that hurt you and can hold you back in the short term. But never in the long term.
Because the best part of the MSL, is that the truth is true whether you believe it or not.
As you know, Earl did start talking to me after this event, but it took some time.
This just goes to show you, you can’t make someone change their mind about you, only they can do that for themselves.
I luckily got to host Earl on The #AskASoccerPro Show Ep 056 last week and greatly enjoyed our entire conversation. Here’s one of my favorite clips from the show (it was hard to choose just one)…
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“the constant mentorship on a daily or weekly basis and the commitment and dedication from my end to want to take that information and then build and grow from it I think is, is what paid off over time to the point where now I can self reflect” – @earledwardsjr Deep! What can you stand to learn from someone who was once selfish to someone who is now practicing to open and honesty? For those looking for the How To’s in life this is the unlock. —— #soccerksills #ussoccer #soccerworld #soccergoals #soccer_nation #soccervideos #soccerschool #soccerskill #soccervideo #thebeaitifulgame #soccerstars #soccergoals #soccerworld #Footballclub ##Football #Footballtime #footballer #soccer #Footballteam #Footballislife #selfreflection #selfreflect #perspective #proathlete #goalielife #goalie #dcu #dcunited
To listen to the full show with Earl Edwards Jr., make sure you check out episode 56 of the #AskASoccerPro Show!
Here’s what we covered:
- Preseason 2019
- The N Word
- Earl Edwards Jr. Joins the Live!
- Earl’s First Interaction with Quincy
- Earl Self-Reflects
- The Importance of Building Relationships
- It Takes More Energy to be Selfish
- Are Goalkeepers Smarter than Field Players?
- How to Stop Being Selfish
- How the MSL Changed Earl’s Perspective
- Time Management
The Importance of Building Relationships | PS Clips | #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 056Earl Edwards Jr. Joins The Live! | PS Clips | #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 056Earl Self Reflects | PS Clips | #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 056Earl’s First Interaction with Quincy | PS Clips | #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 056
How To Not Be Selfish w/ Earl Edwards Jr. | #AskASoccerPro Show Ep.056JT Marcinkowski @jtmarcinkowski | Perfect Soccer Podcast Ep.006
The Benefits of Being A Genuine Person | #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 056
How To Build Relationships and Not Be Selfish w/ Earl Edwards Jr. I #AskASoccerPro Show Ep. 056Take Ownership of What’s in Your Control I Mini-Blog #AskASoccerPro Show
This Week On The #AskASoccerPro Show
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on Thursday when we go live at 6 pm PST/ 9 pm EST with the #AskASoccerPro Show over on Instagram.
I’ll be taking your questions and interviewing Eli Lesser from This Week in MLS!
Please join in!Please feel free to shoot me an email if you have any thoughts or feedback
Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!
Until next week,
Quincy Mental Strength Coach
MSL – Mental Strength League