Jim Brown is considered by many to be the greatest football player that ever lived. During his illustrious nine year career Brown won enough awards and accolades to fill a small size U-Haul truck. At the age of 29 and still in his prime Jim Brown walked away from the NFL and never looked back. To this very day he will tell you he has no regrets about his decision and encourages other players to follow his example. Should the modern day athlete take his advice?
Absolutely not. Jim Brown was a revolutionary and a civil rights activist that lobbied for social change. Most of his actions were selfless and he used his wealth, status, influence, and fame to bring awareness to causes that needed a voice. Today's athlete is selfish and egotistical. Most of them are more concerned with strip clubs, autograph signings, and reality shows. It doesn't serve their best interest to be controversial or take a stance on polarizing topics.
In addition, the money these athletes make is astronomical in comparison to when Jim Brown played. In 1965 most people didn't even have color television much less Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and Nike endorsements. Asking a young man to walk away from hundreds of millions of dollars to be an ambassador for social justice is unrealistic and somewhat irresponsible. It's a different era and the moral compass of the country has changed dramatically since the 60's.
I respect Jim Brown immensely for taking a stance and fighting for what he believes in, but in 2012 money talks. You leave the faucet on for as long as you can while trying not to ruffle too many feathers. Athletes have to strike while the iron is hot and make the most of their small window of opportunity. Social change is far more rewarding and beneficial to the world as a whole, but in 2012 athletes just want to pop bottles and hang out with a Kardashian. Sorry Jim. You are the last of a dying breed. I wish there were more people that share your position.