If you haven't read the story on Colts rookie O-lineman Hugh Thornton, you should make your way on over to Indystar.com and read the front page article on him and his journey to the NFL: http://www.indystar.com/article/20130509/SPORTS03/305090081/Colts-rookie-overcomes-murder-mother-sister-reach-NFL When the Colts initially made this pick, I really didn't get into researching his stats or anything right off the bat. I was looking at the corner back position and researching the free agent DB picks the team made instead. Then I read the article on Thornton's life which hit on the early tragic losses he endured when he was a kid. On Jan. 2, 2004, Thornton’s mother, Michele, and 8-year-old sister, Marley, were murdered during the night in their Jamaican home. Hugh, 12 at the time, was asleep in another room. His Aunt Rebecca found the bodies the following morning and woke him up screaming. Stop and think about that for a second. This kid is lucky to be alive when the murders of two of his close relatives took place just a room away. The reason this story struck a cord with me is because it hits close to home. I lost my father when I was just a kid as well. Like Thornton, I too was 12 years old. My father was gunned down and robbed while leaving a grocery store by two teenage boys who so happened to be sons of a preacher. To add insult to injury, the boys were not tried as adults and were freed a year later. Their father was a pastor of a mega church in LA, which probably played a part in the early release of his sons.
If anyone can relate to the kind of pain Hugh experienced 9 years ago, I definitely can. For me, Hugh represents the story of so many African American faces who have been through the struggle we call "life," and in spite of the circumstances we face, have risen above them in order to beat the odds. As fans, when we see players who come from what we call "the wrong side of the tracks," many of us will judge them without even knowing what their stories are. We call them "thugs," and "losers" because the only information we use to judge them by is what we gather from the news clippings we see in the papers or the perceptions we receive from Sports shows we watch. Most of us form opinions of these athletes who in truth are people we've never met. People just like you and me. We have no idea what these "Sunday heroes" go through when they are not on the football field. We have no idea what their daily lives are like when they take off the equipment. What's sad is the perception people have that says "since these players are making more money than the average Joe, that somehow entitles us to judge them with higher standards than the ones we judge ourselves with."
Although I am not an athlete, I don't agree with this point of view. I believe people are still people and there is no price tag that can or should change that. In the case of Hugh Thornton, this is just the kind of person who should not only be embraced by the city of Indianapolis, but taken under the wing of fans all around. Welcome to the Colts Hugh. You have a least one new fan who is hoping that you become one of the very best at what you do.