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A Journey to a Second Chance

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Throughout our entire lives we make mistakes. No person is void of making mistakes and in most scenarios it can be said that mistakes are great learning tools, assuming the person making the mistake uses the experience to grow as a person.

 

In sports we have seen numerous second chances, particularly in the NFL. You don’t have to look far to see one that has taken shape in Philadelphia with quarterback Michael Vick. Vick is a prime example of someone learning from a mistake and using the experience to better themselves as a person. Vick was indicted in 2007 for operating a dog-fighting ring and breeding pitbulls solely for dog fighting. Vick received punishment, did his time and made his way back to the NFL. He currently actively works with charitable organizations that protect animals from abuse.

 

Vick’s journey is proof positive that we are allotted second chances in life and sometimes in our profession. But more often than not it’s those who truly learn from those mistakes that find lasting success.

 

Back in January 2010 reports surfaced involving Florida Gators’ cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis who was accused of domestic abuse. Pierre-Louis was originally charged with domestic battery and was eventually arrested and held on five felony counts related to domestic abuse. He later was charged with two misdemeanor counts of criminal mischief.

 

(Harrison Diamond, Alligator Staff)

As the processed developed, the supposed victim Starlett Lazenberry would tell the courts; “I do not fear for my life or anything like that. He’s not a danger to anyone. He couldn’t hurt a frog.” She would add that she had attempted to contact the Gainesville Police Department concerning what she said are “inaccuracies” in their police report but said “I’m still waiting on a (return) phone call.” Lazenberry later asked that the charges against Pierre-Louis be dropped.

 

Pierre-Louis’ charges were reduced to damaging a door and cell phone in his then-girlfriend’s (the accuser) apartment. Pierre-Louis pled guilty to both charges and received a sentence of one year of probation from the judge.

 

An unfortunate situation that has contributed to Pierre-Louis’ tough road to land an NFL roster spot. Nonetheless, Pierre-Louis does not look back at the event with anger or contempt, in fact Pierre-Louis demonstrates the type of resolve and peace that is somewhat admirable:

 

It was a situation that happened and things got a little blown out of proportion with me and the other party. We both overreacted, but we learn from it and move on.

Be that as it may, that wasn’t the only hiccup Pierre-Louis had to endure that year. A few months prior to his legal issues Pierre-Louis , who is a native of Haiti, was directly effected by the earthquake that ravaged Haiti.

I kept calling, and nobody was picking up” Pierre-Louis told the Palm Beach Post’s Ben Volin. “I have family in America that I called, and they said they couldn’t get anyone. I was just sitting there trying to call everybody.”

A native of Port-au-Prince which was ground zero for the earthquake, Pierre-Louis endured a terrifying waiting process to find out if his family back home was safe or not. “The house [where I grew up in] collapsed, but everybody made it out, there’s nothing left. I’ve been trying to find out what I can do. I’m going to send money down there.”

The destruction of the earthquakes in Haiti

Eventually Pierre-Louis would learn that his parents, siblings and extended family survived. Unfortunately his 26-year old cousin perished in another building hit by the quake. Pierre-Louis would later state that finding out his family was safe was “Better than winning a national championship.”
Easily the roughest year of his life, Pierre-Louis had persevered and is now trying to find a path to the NFL field. Despite being a solid corner for the Florida Gators and putting on an impressive performance in the 2007 BCS Title Game Pierre-Louis, who was projected to be a 5th round selection in the NFL Draft, went undrafted.
Many would speculate that the legal matter involving Pierre-Louis may have hindered him from getting a spot in the NFL. But while some may find that to be unfortunate and unfair, Pierre-Louis again demonstrates the maturity and peace that a man of strength possesses.
I believe that’s fair, because when something happens to somebody that’s being evaluated, You obviously cant just overlook the situation. But I keep my head up and have a positive mind and take everything as it come day by day.
It was a situation that was blown out of proportion. All the charges was dropped. I put that behind me and I’m ready to move forward with my football Career.
And Pierre-Louis certainly has been working at doing so. He has been training almost every single day and even tried out for the Baltimore Ravens and the New York Giants with hopes of landing a roster spot.
I have been approached by a couple UFL, CFL and AFL team during this process. And I’m very open minded when it come to football because of my passion for the game. At the end of the day I will go with the best opportunity that’s being presented.
I been back home in Naples training at Velocity Sport with Derek Touchette. The same trainer that trained guys like Hakeem Nicks with the Giants, Phil Taylor with the Cleveland Browns  and Braylon Edwards with the San Francisco 49ers. I have been training hard. I feel like I’m in my the best shape I’ve ever been in.
Sometimes it’s easy for us to see a news headline and immediately pass judgement, we are almost bred to be reactionary at an immediate-pace. But in some cases, this one in particular, it’s important to see the whole story. Pierre-Louis deserves a second chance and a clean slate as he works towards a career in the NFL. It is clear the man is not void of the talent necessary of being productive at the NFL level (Check his scouting report here).
I also believe that Pierre-Louis, despite the opinions of his legal matter, has shown the resiliency and character that demonstrates strong will. The type of will that should help shine some sunlight through any dark cloud that some teams may see as hanging over the former Florida Gator. The same will that locker room leaders have coursing through their veins. The type of resolve and maturity that should be taken into account during any evaluation process.
Regardless of how anyone views his past, I for one would be proud to have a player with that makeup donning my team’s jersey. As I stated, we all make mistakes. But it’s those who learn from and grow from those mistakes that should be clearly separated from those who do not.
As Pierre-Louis embarks on his journey to an NFL roster Wondy Pierre-Louis would like every potential team to know one thing:
I like to let all the teams know, I played at a big time program in a big time conference. I’m a tall athletic corner. I’m hungry. I’m ready to show everyone in the NFL what I’m capable of.
Maybe that will lead Pierre-Louis to Denver where he can reunite with former teammate Tim Tebow:
I believe Tebow is an amazing football player with a lot of heart that really cares about his team. I can’t wait to watch him play next year. But I’m more looking to play against him (laughs)

(courtesy of tampabay.com)

A competitive fire that still burns deep despite his trials and tribulations. I would also venture to say Pierre-Louis is an example of a man who has overcome, conquered and bettered himself both on and off the field.
With this being NFL Draft season all of us watching the process will discuss 40 times, vertical jumps and bench presses. But sometimes it’s the intangibles and the things that cannot be measured by a stop watch or weight bench that prove to be more valuable than the things that are.
We are a society that embraces a good story, a underdog and a happy ending. Wondy Pierre-Louis may very well give us our next great sports story.
Catch my radio interview with Wondy Pierre-Louis right here
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Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media and DiMoro Enterprises LLC. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony hosts the Anthony DiMoro Show podcast, and formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

NEWS

Raiders’ Antonio Brown Threatens ESPN’s Ryan Clark

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Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown doesn’t appreciate the constant comments made by former Steelers teammate and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, and is threatening to handle it physically should he sees him.

Brown made his threat public, directed towards Clark on Twitter.

Brown is no stranger to making threats, and stirring up drama, especially on social media, and FOX Sports host Skip Bayless added his own hot take to the fire.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill Not Facing Child Abuse Charges

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Kansas City Chiefs star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, or his fiancee will not face charges, as the Johnson County (Kansas) District Attorney’s office has declined charges against the pair, according to ESPN.

However, there is a wrinkle as District Attorney Stephen M. Howe said that although he believes that a crime occurred, the evidence in the case doesn’t clearly establish who committed the crime.

Back on March 14th, Overland Park, Kansas officers were called to Hill’s home to investigate an alleged battery in which a juvenile was a victim, police reports indicated.

While Hill was not listed in the report, his fiancee Crystal Espinal was listed under “others involved.”

The Kansas Department of Children and Families has been investigating the alleged battery.

“This office has reviewed all the evidence compiled by these agencies and has declined to file charges against Tyreek Hill and Crystal Espinal,” Howe said on Wednesday during a news conference.

“We are deeply troubled by this situation and are concerned about the health and welfare of the child in question. We believe a crime has occurred. However, the evidence in this case does not conclusively establish who committed this crime.”

This wasn’t the first incident involving the Hill residence as officers were called to the home on March 5th to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect.

In that situation, Hill was named on the police report, but the Overland Park police closed the case three days later when prosecution was declined.

Hill could still face discipline from the NFL, such as a fine and/or suspension.

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Denver Broncos

Broncos’ Von Miller Avoids Charges for Bloody Shark Photo on Instagram

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Denver Broncos superstar linebacker Von Miller will not face charges for catching and posing with a bloody hammerhead shark back in 2018, according to documents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (h/t Deadspin).

Miller came under fire for a controversial photo posted on his Instagram story last year showing him with the bloody shark.

According to Florida Law, catching and releasing in this particular scenario would be fine, as long as the shark was “immediately returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed.”

Per TMZ Sports, Miller and the group pushed the shark back overboard after catching it, and the compilation of Miller’s Instagram story shows that process as well as the shark swimming away.

Despite that, and as Deadspin’s story points out, the picture doesn’t exactly 100% convince that the shark was “unharmed”.

According to USA Today, the boat Miller was on was called ‘Spellbound’ and the owner and operator of the boat were not as fortunate as Miller in regards to the investigation.

“Owner and operator were charged under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for fishing for sharks without the proper permit and for failure to release a shark in the manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival. A $2,000 NOVA was issued.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies hammerhead sharks as a Group 3 shark, and harvesting them in state waters can be met with a second degree misdemeanor.

In the state of Florida, second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail, as determined by a judge.

Miller defended himself following the post, claiming that the shark didn’t die; “Everybody knows that I hunt and fish. It’s what I do” Miller said (h/t ESPN).

“But I also believe in conservation. I’m not just out there going crazy. We followed the rules. I did everything I was supposed to do.”

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