Athletes have a lot of faults, but those faults are also splashed across the top of newspapers in 18 inch Helvetica fonts. When you or I get busted for drugs or try to pick up a prostitute (I'm not suggesting any of you have actually done this), it's much less newsworthy. After a while, you learn to see them as either bad guys or good guys. That's just the way it works.
With that in mind, I'd like to take a little look at one of the good guys. Jamaal Anderson grew up with a deaf father, and he didn't take that experience for granted. Speaking at a school for deaf students in Clarkston, Anderson brought a message for kids who have had to go without hearing the chirping of birds or the steady thump of a stereo upstairs:
"There's always bumps in the road to where you want to get to, and unfortunately they're stuck with one they can't get rid of," Anderson said. "I told them not to let that hinder what they're trying to do. I witnessed that with my father and other deaf Americans. They have no reason not to persevere."
With all the debates we've had over the last year or so about character issues, it's striking to realize the good guys who are or have been Falcons. Warrick Dunn is famous for his efforts, and guys like Keith Brooking fly under the radar and do a lot in the community. Anderson seems poised to follow in their footsteps, identifying a need from his own upbringing and heading out to do something about it. If nothing else, as the AJC article notes, seeing someone famous who can sign a little must make the kids smile.
This doesn't change my expectations for Anderson the player, of course. It just gives us a little insight into Jamaal Anderson the person, who appears to be a pretty decent dude. If you want to put a good face on the franchise, you could look a little further than Matt Ryan.