We Show What They Put In Us: Michael Irvin’s Powerful Speech at the Pro Bowl

↑ Russell Wilson, Michael Irvin, and Black Santa at the Pro Bowl.

Michael Irvin’s short and powerful locker room speech at the Pro Bowl deserves everyone’s attention.

Man, sometimes people say extraordinary and transformative things when you least expect it. Watching Pro Bowl highlights from Hawaii, I saw Michael Irvin deliver a short and powerful locker room speech.

His words deserve everyone’s attention.

When man went and made this tribe, we wanted people with good stock. And we got ‘em. And now we got a chance to beat all the people that put that good stock in you. Let’s make sure we show what they put in us—every time we set foot on that football field—we show what they put in us.

Whoah. Let’s break that down ESPN-style.

When man went and made this tribe, we wanted people with good stock. And we got ‘em.

If I’m not mistaken, Irvin’s talking about African-American history. It’s no secret that African-Americans were enslaved and selectively bred for hundreds of years—to produce “good stock.” To take that history—the outrage and injustice of it—and turn it into an empowering statement is really something.

Let’s make sure we show what they put in us—every time we set foot on that football field—we show what they put in us.

Powerful.

But I want to go back and replay the beginning.

When man went and made this tribe, we wanted people with good stock. And we got ‘em.

Notice how he says “we.” He speaks as both an African-American and a human being. That’s a transformative and empowering place to speak from.

Related: For more on the history of football and race relations in America, listen to this episode “Ghosts of Football Past” from Radiolab.

Tags from the story
, ,
More from Erich Origen

Mankind to Extract All Value from Earth Before Meek Inherit It

According to the Bible, the Meek shall inherit the Earth. And according...
Read More