The Keeping It Real Mentality

As Aaron Hernandez is quickly finding out, keeping it real and staying close to “friends” from the old neighborhood is never the way to go in life. I understand the loyalty that exists amongst true friends but that loyalty is never returned when your friends are the crabs and leeches of society. Many athletes, not just Hernandez, feel like they have to stay connected to their past while it inevitably clouds their present and ruins their future. The whole mentality of “keeping it real” and “down for the homies” isn’t nothing more than a path to trouble which many athletes these days can’t seem to avoid.

The problem lies in the thought process that once a person makes it out of the hood or the inner city they feel the need to take everyone out with them. They take all their boys to the club and buy bottle after bottle or breaks them off with some money because one of their boys got some girl pregnant etc. These “friends” aren’t wasting their money, they’re just leeches sucking the financial life out of their “friend” etc. And if by chance an athlete leaves the hood behind him all his former friends and acquaintances start whispering he isn’t down anymore because he made it or he forgets where he came from etc. eschewing that crab mentality of pulling people back down who try to make it out.

These days leagues of the various major sports in America offer symposiums for rookies educating them on staying out of trouble and financial responsibility, but it seems many aren’t paying attention. NBA players jumping from high school to the pros are the most vulnerable. They’re still kids with a kid like mentality of responsibility and money management. They see their favorite rappers “throwing up stacks” at clubs and at strippers and think that is what life is about. They have 20 of their “boys” living in their mansion, spending their money and driving their car etc., but when the money runs out those leeches run quicker than a roach does when the lights come on.

Sure athletes go to school, but lets face it, few of them are actually getting an education. They’re only in school to be exploited for their talents so others can make money off them. The NCAA is the biggest legalized pimp in the sports world. Raking in billions off these kids and then sending them off into the real world unprepared and uneducated while they sit there padding their pockets with new money from the fresh blood they put on the track to work. The education system in general is a disgrace and all of our kids, not just athletes are left exploited and vulnerable.

You don’t see Tom Brady or Peyton Manning keeping it real. It’s the athletes from the inner city who lack a support system and a proper and basic education that are the victims of keeping it real. It’s the inner city athletes who have a hard time leaving the old neighborhood behind. Athletes from the inner city don’t understand or realize their loyalty only extends to themselves and sometimes to family because lets be realistic about it, sometimes family members are more of a leech than friends are.

Keeping it real is probably going to land Aaron Hernandez some jail time and cost him his NFL career. His friends didn’t lose anything, while Hernandez lost it all. Aaron Hernandez is not the first athlete to fall victim to the scam that is “keeping it real” and he surely won’t be the last one either.

About JC Ruiz

JC Ruiz is a Miami, FL based photographer that specializes in portrait, fashion and sports photography. Born and raised in Boston, MA, he has lived in South Florida since 1993. He is a die hard Red-Sox, Celtics, Patriots and University of Miami Hurricanes fan.

About JC Ruiz
JC Ruiz is a Miami, FL based photographer that specializes in portrait, fashion and sports photography. Born and raised in Boston, MA, he has lived in South Florida since 1993. He is a die hard Red-Sox, Celtics, Patriots and University of Miami Hurricanes fan.

4 Comments on The Keeping It Real Mentality

  1. Aaron hernandez is an unfortunate side effect of the money hungry sports system. Sad.

    • I agree with you Hank. The truly sad part is that he won’t be the last one either. It’s a vicious cycle that never ends.

  2. Megaphonedmind // 06/25/2013 at 9:45 pm //

    The root of this problem is parenting. There are too many missing, unequipped, or immature parents nowadays.

    In a lot of these “keeping it real” situations, the leeches and hanger-ons are only in place because they’re filling a void parents left. In this sense, it’s hard to justify to yourself making it big and not bringing your “parents” along.

    Raising our kids has to be our top priority. Too many cases it’s falling behind jobs, building wealth, trying to hang onto our youth by clubbing, chasing affection from the opposite sex, etc.

    • I agree that raising our kids is a top priority. It’s also easy to fill the void of a missing parent with TV, the internet, video games etc. Education and raising awareness is the fundamental thing a lot of these athletes and people today lack.

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