One of my editors from People Magazine (whom I've worked with for the past 7 or 8 years) called me Tuesday with this assignment and I was on a plane to Salt Lake City Wednesday morning. The added significance of this job was that for the first time in 15 years, I was returning to the state where I spent my collegiate years as a student athlete playing football. Ironically the first time I've ever been sent to the state of Utah in my entire photographic career, I'm sent to photograph the subject of football.
I had a unique perspective going into this job. As an ex-football player, I've seen all sides of this story and played for a lot of different coaches, some who had integrity and others who lacked. Coach Labrum is being celebrated and touted as a hero for doing the right thing. I think it's great what Matt has done: holding his kids accountable and taking advantage of a teachable moment. He's made the statement that football is not the most important thing in the world, it's more important to have integrity and do the right thing.
I found myself wondering, "What does it say about our society that it's the exception and not the norm, for someone to do the right thing? Shouldn't every coach at every level behave this way all the time?" That said, coach Matt Labrum is a great guy and I take my hat off to him for being the exception. There should be more like him to teach our kids about life through sports.