Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith does not charge any fees for kids looking to attend his youth football camp. But other players do, and Smith’s not having it.
In an Instagram video yesterday, Smith went off on players who require kids to pay in order to attend their camps. Though Smith’s personal Instagram is private, a fan account from his alma mater Florida State reposted the clip:
Smith apparently saw the repost, as he fired back in the comments at someone who argued that players needed to charge children in order to cover insurance costs:
telvinsmith50 @team_nix the NFL covers ALL that with insurance!!!! That’s why you have to go through them before you can put on anything!!! & it’s not free because players KNOW pple will pay because the kids THINK they gettin sum special training, when in reality they ain’t doin NOTHIN they can’t look up on YouTube and do in they front yard!!! & it’s pple like you sayin that that’s gone continue to let pple think it’s ok....but I tell you what..watch my camp!!!! We have food, give tshirts, bags with lil gifts in it & then the kids get trophies and signed autographs...and ALL that is either DONATED, or taken care of in GRANTS from the NFL..or I PAY OUT MY OWN POCKET!!!! Get real!!! Don’t come talkin sayin sum is right or even ok just because it’s being done!!! & @fsutribe don’t EVER conform or back down on something you stand for because somebody come and say something that sound ok!!!! Ain’t NONTHIN ok about that and don’t Eva comment on my pics with that @team_nix Thinkin I don’t know the real spill!!!!
Smith told ESPN today that he didn’t mean to refer to intensive multi-day camps in his comments, but instead single day events that focus more on the chance to meet the player than on the opportunity to hone any actual skills. Players can apply for a grant of up to $4,000 from the NFL Foundation to help fund camps such as these, and they often have sponsors to cover other costs such as food and drink for campers. These factors and others, Smith said, make it unacceptable for players to charge children’s families for the chance to attend.
“I keep saying ‘robbing these kids’ because I feel that’s what we’re doing,” he told ESPN. “We’re in the NFL. We’re in a multibillion corporation. You can write that off on your taxes, but you’re charging these kids? There’s no part of it that’s right. Your heart’s not in the right direction when you’re doing that.”