Las Vegas Raiders’ receiver Henry Ruggs was recently involved in a deadly car accident that killed a young lady, according to a recent local news report. Ruggs, who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when the accident happened, was immediately released from the team. I thought about his situation, and I couldn’t help but think about all the loss that was involved. Not only the loss of life, which is extremely incomparable, but, also the loss of Ruggs’ career and all of his misfortune due to the incident, and how he must be feeling now that the initial impact is over. Someone who could relate to the impact of loss and misfortune as an athlete is Jermaine “FM” Gurley.
TH: What sports you participate in here at SQ?
JG: I play football for team Hit Squad in the intramural league. I play defensive and offensive line.
TH: How long have you been playing sports and football?
JG: I been playing sports ever since my school days when I was in the Oakland Unified School District. When I was in high school I loved wrestling, but I played football too. I received the Championship ring when my team won the Silver Bowl in high school. I also went to Cal State East Bay on an academic scholarship.
TH: Oh, that’s big. I can imagine that must have been one of the pivotal parts of your life. What did you like most of all about being in college?
JG: Aw man, most of all, what was most gratifying to me was working for the Community Youth Center where I got to work with the kids. Because I know that choices are different when you are younger versus when you are older.
TH: That’s true. And the decisions you might make when you are young could definitely determine your future. That’s why it was good that you were catching them while they were young to hopefully teach them the right ways to go, so that their life wouldn’t be so hard growing up. How was growing up for you?
JG: Growing up in West Oakland, there were certain elements there that were out of control. And that environment did impact me in a negative way, even though I grew up in a two-parent household. My dad used to always challenge me and say, “Try working.” And he would tell me to stay in school. So that stuck with me. I found out that I could make more money from going to school than being on the streets hustling. What my dad told me all the time was, “A slow nickel beats a fast dime.”
TH: That’s true. Living fast can almost certainly lead to your life being cut short. Which brings me to this question. Did you hear about the Raiders’ receiver, Henry Ruggs?
JG: Yeah I did. When I first got the news, I compared his ordeal to some other person who is privileged. A White person with celebrity status. And since he is Black, their outcomes will be much different. However, I did feel sad for him because I believe that he really didn’t set out to actually hurt someone.
TH: Maybe not, but he was drinking and driving allegedly.
JG: Yeah, we are taught not to drink and drive. Especially while in a residential area. He’s lucky that he didn’t kill his self, too.
TH: I know you can relate to his situation. What have you learned since being in your current situation and losing all the things and opportunities you’ve lost?
JG: My situation is an eye opener. I hope that whoever comes up after me would see what happened to me and learn from it. It taught me to appreciate life and what I have. And the blessing for me about this experience is that at least it’s not the end of the road. Who knows what the end of the road for Henry Ruggs will look like in his situation.