Perhaps the math is a little bit simplified, but it's quite astonishing to hear a quote like this from anybody who would really have a media spotlight. It's even more astounding when you hear who actually said it.
Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots just finished what can only be called a "breakout season," becoming just the third player in team history to eclipse 100 receptions in a single season. The nominal replacement for Wes Welker, he became the effective "leader" of the receiving corps this season as a result of contract negotiations, injuries, and the stone-cold stupidity of Aaron Hernandez, who thought it was more important to be a thug than a human being. Effectively, he became the "seasoned veteran" of the wide receiver corps—because there weren't any other veterans in the system.
At a press conference yesterday, he was asked if he felt any pressure as a result of having to be the senior wide receiver. His response was surprising, to say the least:
“I mean, that’s really not pressure. Pressure is when you have like $300 in your bank account, like five kids and $800 in bills. That’s pressure,” he said. “It was more of an opportunity. Around here, if you just do your job, you put in the work and you prepare you’ll be given an opportunity.”It's rare to see a professional athlete—any professional athlete—actually even mention something like poverty in this context. Some athletes of Boston renown—including Pedro Martinez—have been known to talk about it with respect to their own upbringing. But to hear someone talk about it so bluntly, and to see the media report it, is at least an encouraging sign. There remains much work to do to address poverty and economic inequality in America, but moments like this give at least some hope that we're starting to change the conversation.