NFL Super Bowl MVP emphasizes the power of choice


Kitta MacPherson

SuperBowl MVP Ottis Anderson delivers a message on the power of choice to the Prep Division during Convocation.

Ottis Anderson, a former NFL player, visited St. Benedict’s last Thursday and spoke to the students about the importance of making good choices. He did so by talking about his experiences with being presented with drugs during his time in college football and in the NFL. 

Mr. Anderson, also known as “O.J.,” won the NFL Rookie of the Year award during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals and was the Super Bowl MVP with the New York Giants for Super Bowl XXV. Mr. Anderson also established the OJ Anderson Foundation. This foundation devotes its time advocating for young underrepresented men and women who may need financial and personal advice and support attending college. 

Mr. Anderson was introduced by Gray Section Leader, Chrisley Alexis, and was welcomed with a loud applause when his achievements on the football field were listed. Mr. Anderson began his twenty-minute speech, that took up much of Convocation, by praising what he saw of the students during attendance and prayer. He praised the integrity of the students, specifically the group leaders, for managing the crowd of students and setting a good example, and was amazed at the power of the Hand. 

Mr. Anderson then began to talk about when he attended a high school in Florida and his school was visited by an NFL player who talked about his Super Bowl rings. Mr. Anderson remembered turning to a friend and saying he was going to “get [him] one of those.” He then began explaining the difference between talking about wanting something and actually executing the actions necessary to attain it. Mr. Anderson executed the necessary steps to achieve his dream.

Mr. Anderson spoke about when he went to college with an athletic scholarship, and how he needed to be accountable for going to his classes and studying for exams. “No one is going to do it for you,” said  Mr. Anderson. He talked about having a choice.  Unlike many athletes, Mr. Anderson made the choice to never smoke, drink, take drugs, or swear. He said that is what he grew up being told would make a person a better athlete, but that is not what he saw.

He told the students two stories about being presented with drugs and smoking. The first story was about his first game in the NFL. Mr. Anderson was getting ready to play the Dallas Cowboys. While sitting in the locker room, he saw his whole defensive line smoking cigarettes. He could not believe what he saw. The second story was when Mr. Anderson was playing college football. One of his teammates offered him cocaine. Graciously, Mr. Anderson declined this offer and made it clear to his audience, throughout his speech, the importance of making right choices and not being peer pressured.

Mr. Anderson said he saw the characteristic of accountability in the students at St. Benedict’s, some of whom have benefited from the support of his foundation. Accountability means being responsible for your own behavior when no one is looking over your shoulder, he said.  Accountability is a critical characteristic, he said, because every decision a person makes affects his future.
 “Every choice, every decision you make, good, bad, or indifferent, there’s a consequence,” Mr. Anderson said.