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James Harrison Makes Kids Give Back Participation Trophies

James Harrison, workout maniac, is not down for rewarding mere participation. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker is apparently forcing his sons, who are eight and six years old, to return “Best of the Batch” trophies.

Here’s Harrison via Instagram, explaining his rationale.

I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best...cause sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better...not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy. #harrisonfamilyvalues


This reads like the parenting manifesto of someone who saw Whiplash and thought, “Yes. That bald guy gets it. Really makes you think.” In the abstract, sure, incentivizing last place the same as first isn’t going to motivate anyone to work for first. But participation trophies aren’t really a motivator. Kids understand the difference between a ‘thanks for showing up’ party favor and a trophy you get for winning something.

Approaching everything like it’s a competition isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to go through life either. This mentality works for elite athletes, who often have to have militant self-belief to make it in their field, but cooperation is essential too. Lest we forget, Harrison once beat up his girlfriend, smashed down a door, and broke her cell phone to prevent her from calling the cops over an argument about the baptism of his older son. This is the problem solving strategy of an all-the-time, nonstop competitor.

Photo via Justin Aller/Getty

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