Sydney Speaks! Good guys deserve praise

This past weekend I was speaking at a dinner meeting for an organization called "Men of Integrity." When a gentlemen said that he had lost faith in today's professional athlete, I informed him that he shouldn't judge all of them by the things a few do. There are some good ones left, and the Green Bay Packers have their share!

I often get confused when I hear that a professional athlete is supposed to be a role model because he makes a lot of money. Since when did role model and wealth mean the same thing? A pro athlete isn't a role model unless he wants to be, like William Henderson. He accepts the responsibility of a role model. He lives his life with integrity. If he says he will do something, you can count on it. You don't have to worry about what he does off the field because he doesn't want to let anyone that looks up to him down.

When you see William out and about town he is dressed not like some pimp-thug, or like he's a millionaire that's above the law, but as a man of integrity. He always has a respectful nature about himself and treats everyone he comes in contact with like they are more important than he is. You never see him walking around with some cut off shirt with his arms out, like he is screaming, ‘Look at my muscles!' William knows who and what he is. You never hear about any legal issues off the field because there none. He has pride in being a professional athlete and he understands his responsibility and the effect he has on the Packer fans. He's one of the good ones!

Green Bay has a history of players that have had legal trouble, but so does every team. The problem is that stories about good guys don't sell papers. When the country was shaken by Hurricane Katrina, Brett Favre stood with other athletes trying to make a difference, but soon people and the media got tired of writing about the good he was doing. But when Favre and Javon Walker had a problem with communication and contract issues last summer, the story never died.

Favre has gone through a lot off the field in the past few years - from family tragedies to his wife's battle with cancer and his own battle with painkillers and overcoming them. But all anyone wants to talk about is football. If there ever was a success story about a man overcoming adversity and the definition of a role model, it's him. Favre is one of the good guys not just because of his accomplishments on the football field. He should be honored for the man he is off the field. ANOTHER GOOD GUY!

What about Aaron Kampman who does nothing but work his butt off? Kampman doesn't have as much talent as many of the other starters in the NFL, but his heart is bigger than most. He gives his blood and sweat on the field, and he also gives everything he has to many charities off the field. He gives to those that need it. It's not always about the money because everyone can give money. Kampman gives more and that's his TIME.

Guys like Aaron Kampman are special. The average fan can identify with him because most of us work very hard every day to keep our heads above water. We all need a hero that we can relate to, and Kampman is a blue collar, hands-getting-dirty type of guy. Those are the things that we need to hear about and read in the paper.

Then you have Donald Driver who came from nothing to have everything. His life was full of disappointment and heartache, but he didn't cry. He did everything to seize the opportunity and make it better for him and his family. But he didn't stop there. His foundation has done everything to change the lives of people that have walked in his shoes. Again, we don't really hear about those things do we?

We often hear that there are no leaders on the Green Bay Packers. I disagree. I think there are great leaders only they lead in the most important areas, which is life. True, we wouldn't know about any of these guys if they didn't play the game we love. But we do and it's time we learn to appreciate those that earn it!

TALK ABOUT THE GOOD GUYS because they deserve it. William Henderson, Brett Favre, Donald Driver and Aaron Kampman are "Men Of Integrity". There are a lot of heroes on the Green Bay Packers and it starts at the top with Bob Harlan and trickles down. It's not just the guys that I mentioned, either. Hopefully these guys will rub off on all the young players and they will understand the price that success demands they pay!

Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to managing editor Todd Korth at, and he will forward it to him.

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