PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- College Football Hall of Fame quarterback and NFL veteran Don McPherson visited Pace University last week and spoke with students about the social issues facing young athletes today.
New York State Senator Terrence Murphy opened the event by discussing opioid abuse and the correlation between sports injuries and drug addiction. Murphy has extensive knowledge in healthcare and is co-chair of a statewide task force to combat the growing heroin and prescription opioid crisis in New York.
McPherson's talk focused on the use of language in sport, which he feels can create gender inequality and promote prejudice. Specifically, he addressed the perception that men have to be strong, tough, brave, and fearless.
“If you refer to a guy as an inanimate object or an animal it’s a compliment, but you compare him to his sister and it’s the ultimate insult,” said McPherson. “That is the misogyny. When we say, 'You throw like a girl,' [or] we respond with, 'You have to man up,’ and that’s the narrowness of masculinity, what it means to be a man.” It's this language, he feels, that creates an attitude that females are inferior to males.
McPherson is an inspirational speaker and has been leveraging his sports background to address complex social justice issues since 1986. McPherson has traveled to more than 250 different college campuses around the United States to speak with students about how to handle various problems they encounter. He was an All-America quarterback at Syracuse University and is a veteran of the NFL and Canadian Football League. As captain of the undefeated 1987 Syracuse football team, McPherson set 22 school records, led the nation in passing and won more than 18 national awards.
To learn more about McPherson, click here.