Carl Eller honored during half-time of the Minnesota Vikings game

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Carl Eller, former Viking and Pro Football Hall of Famer. When Eller was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, he vowed to use the honor to lead young African-American males "toward the great colleges and universities of our nation, not to prisons and jail cells." He will be honored during the half-time ceremony at Sunday's Vikings game.

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And good morning. Welcome to midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten. This is not the easiest time to be a sports fan what with fists swinging NBA players charging after fans in the stands what with some of baseballs biggest stars being outed in the steroid Scandal, but with a Timberwolves star getting suspended for vulgarity this after being blasted for arrogance. What were the U of M reporting that relatively few student ex-athletes actually graduate from you? No doubt about it. These have been trying times for sports fans, but not all the news has been depressing. In fact earlier this year. We were treated to one of the most uplifting and inspiring stories to come along in a long long time. Maybe you remember last August former University of Minnesota and former Minnesota Vikings football star Carl Eller was inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame. It took an inexplicable 25 years.But finally this year Carl Eller was formally recognized as one of the greatest football players of all time. Now that in itself would make for a nice enough story Excellence of local athlete finally rewarded and all but what really made the Carl Eller story. So terrific was the national attention that mr. Eller received for his acceptance speech. There were the usual thank yous of course during his speech but Carl Eller who has spent his post-football life working with a variety of drug rehab and lokva social service programs. He also had a lot to say about some important issues that go far beyond the World of Sports. It was a great speech. It was a great story at the time and it made for a great midday at the time. Well this weekend Carl Eller will be honored at the Vikings football game at the Dome and we thought it would be interesting to catch up on the Carl Eller story. He's come by our Studios today to talk about his induction his speech and what's happened since and if you'd like to join our conversation, we invite you to give us a call six five one to two.In 6000. That's our Twin City number six five. One two, two seven six thousand toll-free number 1-800 to 422828 can also send in your question or comment online. Just go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question. Carl Eller. Welcome back to midday. Well, thank you Gary. It's really a pleasure to be back big big doings at the Metrodome. First of all this weekend. I suppose all the old Vikings coming back. Well Allah quite a few other guys are coming back to reporters is that all of the Hall of Famers will be back and you know, so all the guys that played doing my time. A lot of them will be back. It's going to be a great weekend that should be fun for you. It is fun, you know it whenever we're together. It's just like no time has passed except at the none of us walk very straight these dips any of you planning to suit up and looks like the Vikings could use a little help. No, I don't think you get many takers of that. Now. I know some folks simply didn't get a chance to hear your speech last summer or may have forgotten whatYou had to say or simply want to hear it again. So I'd like to play some excerpts from that before we get started. Okay. All right. Now you talked about coming to Minnesota from the segregated South in 1960 to play football at the you talked about how you were able to take advantage of that opportunity to get a college education. You went on to a Hall of Fame pro career with the Vikings. You also talked about some of the lessons you learned and let's let's hear what you have to say. I have a question and I asked a question to what do I owe this great honor? And it's a good one. What can I do with this great honor of being inducted to the Football Hall of Fame Class of 2004. My answer is I want to use this platform to help young African-American males to participate fully in this Society. I know that we must give young African-American men a message that will leave them in the direction differently where from many of them are headed today. I want them that direction to be headed towards the great universities and colleges of our nation not to the prisms and jail cells. African-American young men as well as young women must know that they are part of the establishment and not separate from it that they are part of this Great America. They must know that their parents and grandparents and their grandparents parents before them helped build this great country and parents. Yes. We do have a great challenge before us maybe the greatest in history. And that is we must teach our kids the value and importance of Education teach them to be members of this Society to participate fully and have a respect for Country laws and customs. Show them enough he want this country to do the right thing that we must do the right thing and to teach our children to be actively involved in everything that's going on in this country. Barack Obama There's a fine young man and a great example. But he is not unique contrary to what we see in our media controlled establishment. We're in a media dominated society which has focused on the negative in the African-American communities and other communities of color. There are hundreds if not thousands Barack Obama's out there. We must educate our children. That's the Paramount challenge like Bill Cosby says we must give our children books. But first we must know what books to give them books to help them understand our economy books on technology technological and scientific and biological advances being made every day books on relationships not just with each other but on our foreign neighbors and certainly books on how to participate in our political system. I promise I promise young men and women and I specifically say again to African American males because it seems that our country has turned its back on you and it seems that some areas have even given up. Hope I am here today to say I haven't given up on you and you need to know because I know that you have the talent you have the intelligence and now you have the opportunity to make rice of this great occasion, and I'm calling on you now to do the right thing. Don't let all of the hard work of your forefathers have done to make this a great country. Go to waste young men of African American descent hear me now. It breaks my heart. And it breaks all of our hearts. This is not your future your forefathers have built for you. This is not the future that we fought for in the 50s and 60s and 70s what breaks our heart is to see you involved in gangs and selling drugs and killing each other that breaks our hearts. We put our lives on the line so that you can enjoy the freedoms that that we enjoy today. We put our lives on the line yesterday so that someone there could be a Barack Obama today and there could be a curler today and there could be other Hall of Famer sitting before you today. So now I stand here and say to you if the future of America's to be strong you must be strong. You must hear the cries of our forefathers and pick up the fight that has helped to make this country great and help make it what it is stay know that you're loved and respected and we have high hopes for you. Maybe higher than what you imagine. But if this country is to be a winner you are to be a winner. There'll be a Winner Takes Two things and I think those two things are courage and commitment. It takes courage to be a winner. If you have courage you can overcome you can conquer fear and you can conquer despair. And you must be too committed to your goals and to your cause and commitment means being bound to a course of action spiritually emotionally and intellectually these two things separate the winners from the losers. And you must be a winner not losers and you can tell the winners from the losers. Here's how you can tell the winners from the losers. The winner is always part of the answer. The loser is always part of the problem. The winner always has a program. The loser always has an excuse the winner says, let me do it for you. And the loser says it's not my job. The winner sees an answer for every problem and the loser sees a problem in every answer. The winner sees a green near every sand trap the losses these two or three sand traps near Evergreen. The winter says it may be difficult, but it is possible. And the loser says it may be possible, but it's too difficult. Ladies and gentlemen, young men young ladies, especially the young men that I'm talking to be the winners be the winners. God bless you. Thank you very much. Thank you former, Minnesota Viking and newly installed National Football League Hall of Famer Carl Eller speaking. Last summer at NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Canton, Ohio Karl Mueller has come by our Studios today to bring us up to date on reaction to his induction speech. It's also here to take your questions on other issues as well. So if you'd like to join our conversation, give us a call six five one two, two seven six thousand. That's our Twin City number six Twin City area number 6512276 thousand our toll free number is 1-800-218-4243 or comment online go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question. Well Carl Eller you received national attention for your speech at the time. What's happened? Since well, I did get a lot of attention at the time Gary and I've made a number of appearances since set and I actually have some other things schedule coming up later this fall. I mean early next year. I'm going to do some things for black history month. So it's created quite a stir but what I've done is I've made some contacts with quite a few people as a result of that that are activists or certainly people that are concerned with this particular problem. Mmm. What have you heard from the young people? Were they listening? Yes, the young people are listening and I've made contact with the young people recently. I've been working with the group of young men about 30 young men here in the Twin Cities area and they are very very responsive 422 what we're trying to do. We're taking the message to them and they appreciate it. So it's been a been a good it's been a good experience. You haven't been just as Missed as an old guy who doesn't know what's going on these days. Well, I've learned a lot Gary. In fact, it's been an amazing journey for me. You know, I came out and I made the speech and it was something that I felt, you know very deeply about but I really did not have the awareness of of the extent of the problem and it becomes more apparent every day. But what I've learned and I think this is significant when we talk about gangs against is a generational problem. We have a lot of these young men whose parents and sometimes even grandparents have been part of the gangs. So it's a culture that's a more deeply rooted than even I imagine. How do you how do you break that cycle? I mean first of all, it seems like you have to get people's attention and and you've had some success there. But then how do you break that cycle? Well, the thing that I'm learning is that the young men that we're talking to and and dealing with is that they really are looking for some And outlet and outlet might not be the best word, but I become to realize that when we talk about young men 12 to 18, you know, 13 and 14 years old that these young men do have problems and there's nowhere to go. There's nowhere to talk about them. And sometimes it's the problem might be well, you know, I don't want to be in a gang. You know, what how do I deal with that? Or or maybe I'm having problems at school that I can't really talk about. So I just think having a resource and having some support and somebody that really has confidence in them goes a long way you emphasized and have emphasized over the years the importance of Education. Now you get the sense that young folks are hearing that message that you know, they really do need to buckle down and get a good education. Yes. I they are here in the hearing that message. Another thing I've learned is that it really is complicated, you know particularly in the Twin Cities are With our children of color African-Americans and Native Americans. They're not having very much success as getting these young men through through high school. And of course, they're not getting into college. There's something missing there. I don't know exactly what it is. But I think that there are so many outside problems that maybe these young men really can't concentrate or they don't have the encouragement to really participate in school or they're not motivated to to do their best and I think a part of it is that they really don't see something Beyond, you know, the end of the tunnel there is no light at the end of the tunnel and so it doesn't give them a lot to look forward to so and sometimes I think maybe getting involved in gangs or maybe getting involved in crime even maybe more attractive because it's immediate what we try to do and want to do is to give them hope and and encourage him that there is something there and if they do participate in apply themselves that Will be a reward at the end is that how you are able to because you you talk openly to about having some rough patches when you were a young young fellow but he stayed on the straight and narrow came up the U of M got a good education and so on was it the fact that you you there was light at the end of your tunnel there if you if you stuck to what you were going to get an education and play ball Gary amazingly. It's a very common story. I was just in New Jersey and those are things that we Doo there and have been doing for a number of years with the YW YMCA in Newark, which of course has a history of being a very desolate place. It's quite kind of turned around quite a bit. But one of the things that we do when we go there's we go out and we talk to kids in schools at the elementary level and at the high school level this year. I joined two other Hall of Famers Bobby Bell who you know and Larry little who played for that Miami team that was undefeated and we played them in the Super Bowl but there was a common theme and and and and that common theme was as is that they did not like their options in other words, you know what you get to be a freshman or a sophomore in high school what sort of look forward to you know, you can graduate but get a job in the factory or you know, you can go to work whatever it is. It just was not appealing and so that was a the one dissatisfaction with the options. The other was was there was an opportunity that did come along and for the three of us it was Sports, you know that if we it wasn't automatic. We had of course apply ourselves. But if we did apply ourselves that there was something different that we expanded our options and then one option being that we could go to college and I think that that was a turnaround Point certainly for the three of us. I am hoping and I'm thinking that if we give these young men and options say hey that there is something out for you. It's not a dead end Street. I think they'll go for it. Starting with Carl Miller who of course earlier this year last summer was inducted in the National Football League Hall of Fame. He's being honored this weekend at the Metrodome during the Vikings game and we thought it'd be a great opportunity to catch up on the Carl Eller story. He got national attention for the acceptance speech that he gave last summer speech that as you heard went Way Beyond the usual Sports cliches, if you'd like to join our conversation, give us a call six five one two, two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight again, you can use our online service go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question Casey your first go ahead, please. Hey, I good morning Carl Eller congratulations and much respect for you for seeking outside the box nowadays that are just being paid more and more money with everything to make a nothing to say as long as they do you see And about revamping or Resurgence of political activist athletes because they are in a position to reach a large scale of people and they're just being paid puppets by corporations. Like Nike actually come out and have a social conscience message and speak out against things like a prison industrial complex. That's targeting young black America and almost apartment and I thought the great great. Thanks, Casey Carl. I know you couldn't hear that because I get to your headphones squared away here. But Casey was first of all praising you thanking you for for all you've contributed. He's interested in knowing whether or not you get the sense that more athletes are going to become activists and get involved in in major social problems and programs. Well, well, there's some of them that are in they probably haven't gotten quite as much attention as I have but I'm thinking that you know a lot of the stuff they do, you know in the Minnesota Vikings have a lot of community people that are guys that work in the community and back the Vikings kind of do this on a Tuesday as they take their Tuesdays and they go out and do some Community work. I don't know. I have a sense that we probably are not overall a Gary. It's kind of a saddening of of Affairs because I think that a lot of players are, you know, just are not really taken the interest in in what's going on in our community do most of our most athletes because you've talked about this too that you believe College pro athletes are in fact role models and they should accept that but a lot of athletes don't I mean they're that a lot of people take the position. Look I go out. I play the sport if you want looking for a role model. Look at your dad mom. Don't look at me. Well, you know, I think that they're not being responsible when they say That to Gary and I liken it to a person in uniform, you know, if we take a police officer a military man, you know, when you put those uniforms on there's a certain responsibility that goes along with that and I think we should look at our athletes in the same nature, you know, if you were the uniform there's something that goes along with that. And and today I think that they are becoming more self-centered that they're not wanted to take on that responsibility and we've seen certainly evidence of that recently. But you know, it's a basically signing their contracts. Let me sign my contract play ball and and leave me alone. And I think that's a very nearsighted view. It should try another caller. Hopefully you can hear hear our call or Pat. Go ahead Place. Good morning. My question is before mr. Eller regarding the young men he works with of those guys. First of all how many of them are fathers and then how do you use that particular fact To discuss their vision of the future. I work with a lot of young African American fathers in my job in Social Services. And I frequently leverage if you will their connection to their child, however, tenuous to help them see their future differently and I'll take your response off the air. Thank you very much Pat. I appreciate your question the young men that I work with now and this is we've just kind of a similar scoop there has been I work with an Oscar Reed who is actually been had a longer time with these young men. So we've kind of combined with this group. I know them from they were at my celebration over in North Minneapolis early in the year, but I've gotten more involved as we go along. I don't know all of their histories, but I don't think that any of them are fathers and the guys that we were working with a mostly 9th through 12th graders in I do know that some of them have had some gang involvement. But at this point I'm not sure that any of my father's but it's a great point and that would be an area of responsibility that we would certainly address as we continue Carlisle are there seems to be any number of programs that have been set up to address these problems facing young African-American males particularly lots of programs lots of people giving speeches and and the rest has any of that really made any difference in your mind. Well, I think it has but but what we what we are trying to do is something different, you know, I think a lot of those programs are, you know, like go in to try to make some impact but they're not there for the long haul, you know, I want these young men to feel like, you know, we're together. I'm in I'm in this with him. You know, I'm I'm a supporter them. I'm going to be behind them, you know, it is not something I'm going to come. In and then not be there when they look for me and and we're going to set some goals. I am as interested as they are in and what happens to them, you know, they're really a great group, even though I don't know them that well and I'm just starting to know them but you know, they have Ambitions they have desires, you know, they have goals and they're very appreciative of the time that we spend with them and that really got my ear, you know, it wasn't like. Well, what are you doing here? I don't want to listen, you know, these guys are saying thanks. I'm glad you're taking the time out of your day to spend with us and boy that was that just kind of got me right there. Well, we got an online comment from Molly says students and staff of the Community of Peace Academy Charter School and St. Paul are incredibly proud of you your success and your generosity. Well, thank you. I that's a great school. I am very familiar with that school in it's one of the schools that I've said that I've spoken at. To in and it's doing a great job. It's having a lot of success, you know, it's doing things the right way. They have a CREDO there that first of all they deal with the whole person and the community of PC, you know, they they pieces there is a venue, you know, so it's a it's a school where they respect each other and certainly violence is not not part of their part of them in you whatsoever Takin a shower with Carl Miller, who was this past summer inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame this after a tremendous career with the Minnesota Vikings prior to that. He was a star at the University of Minnesota came to Minnesota from North Carolina and great story and it turned into an even better story. Of course when Carl Eller used the opportunity of his induction to give an acceptance speech which went far beyond the usual things that you would hear at an acceptance speech at dressing instead some of the big issues facing In the United States Carl ehlers come back today to bring us up to date on what's happened since he gave that speech and if you'd like to join our conversation the number to call six five one two, two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight organ. You can use our online service. Our web address is Minnesota Public Radio dot-org when you get there click on send a question and we'll get to more of your questions here in just a couple minutes programming is supported by Capital City partnership presenting the Wells Fargo winter skate and all-weather ice rink in downtown st. Paul every Sunday. You can skate to inspiring music with Minnesota public radio's Waltz on water online at Capital City partnership.com catch up on the latest news headlines. Here's Tony Randolph Tony. Thanks, Gary President Bush has chosen a new Energy Secretary Samuel bodman has been serving as a deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department. He next phases Senate confirmation President. Bush says, he knows how to set goals and knows how to reach them a friend says the shooter and Wednesdays, Ohio. Killings quote was off his rocker. The friend says Nathan Gail claim the heavy metal band Pantera had stolen his song lyrics Gil burst on stage Wednesday night and shot the former Pantera guitarist known as dime bag and several others officials. Say the search for the six missing crew members is still taking precedence over the environmental threat posed by oil from a freighter that ran aground Southwest of Alaska thousands of gallons of heavy bunker Fuel and Diesel spilled from the soybean freighter not far from a wildlife refuge for the first time since the end of the Vietnam era all us passenger jet has landed in Vietnam the United Airlines flight from San Francisco carried three hundred forty seven people including some Vietnamese who fled their country after the war in Regional news Walmart store says it plans to open its first three Supercenter food in general merchandise stores in the outer Twin Cities suburbs by early 2006. The nation's largest grocery wants to expand existing discount stores. In Elk River, Maple Grove and Shakopee to the full grocery format. A political era is coming to an end in South Dakota Senator Tom daschle State offices in Sioux Falls Aberdeen and Rapid City closed today. His state director says constituent cases have been moved to other offices the Senators Washington office will close next week in the weather forecast will have a mix of rain and snow today highs from the low 20s to the upper 30s and mostly cloudy tonight with lows from the teens to the mid-20s right now. It's 26 in Duluth and 34 in the Twin Cities now back to you Gary. All right. Thanks Tony 26 minutes before 12:00. Midday coming to you here on Minnesota Public Radio over the noon hour. We have a new American radio works documentary this one co-production with the BBC taking a look at redistricting or gerrymandering here in the United States. It is not by pure coincidence that virtually all US House members are re-elected. They seek re-election, but 95 to 99% are re-elected. And one of the big reasons is that they have managed to draw boundaries which virtually guarantee their re-election will look at that issue over the noon hour. This hour were talking with Carl Eller. Who was this past summer inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame he gave a really inspiring speech at the induction ceremonies speech that is still sending out Ripples and he is come by today to bring us up to date on what's happened since he gave the speech course this weekend. He's being honored at the Metrodome during the Vikings game being honored for his induction into the Hall of Fame without a great opportunity to update the story Steve your question, please yeah. Hi. How you doing? Mr. Ehlert glad to have this opportunity to speak with you. I have a question as a white male trying to get into my teaching license and begin teaching at the high school level and I'm a little older. I'm in my later 30s, how how I find a way or is you know, how do you approach the the divide the social divide between you know, the young African-American or for that matter could be any young child in that in that range of high school and show them that you know, you're there to help them and you're trying to also improve their lives and you you know, you believe in their ability. I mean, how do you break that divide cross that bridge? Well, I think that it's a tough job and I think it's a tough job for teachers today because I think that many students in particular ones that were talking about probably come to you with with a mistrust. So maybe they're not the most eager student to open up the I think they're going to be closed and you're just going to have to earn their trust and I think this will happen over time if you will, you know, just allow yourself to do that and get to know Them and let them know that you really are interested and willing to work through some of their problems, you know, just help them work through some of their problems. What do you think is at the root of that lack of trust what creates a divide in the first place? Well, I think that we really going to have to do something, you know in our schools and without public education and that's mostly what I'm talking about is public education. I think that we have to find things that really are exciting for them that really do excite them particularly in areas of History, you know, social studies those kinds of things. I know that we talked about the basics of math the scientists and those are exciting but I think what makes those things exciting is that if people can identify they can see other Role Models, they can see other people that have, you know, created or participating, you know, you have to get beyond the George Washington Carver and I'll text books and make it relevant to the people that they're teaching Barbara your question place. Yes. I've been Carl it's great to see you. Finally getting the acknowledgement that you get I've had the privilege of working with you over the last few years. Haven't seen you in a while. But my question is in your your conversations and when you're out speaking, are you seeing more girls at your presentations? I'm reading about figures of girl gang members Rising, especially African-American and I think your message is it should be given to all young people is not and not necessarily Just One race, but all young people. It's a great message. Well, I appreciate your comment and I think you're right. I think there's certainly all young people, you know could benefit or all people that work with young people could benefit from this message. You know, it's just kind of a little bit too much for me. I think I do want to focus And I do want to concentrate and I think that this is there is a great need there and certainly with young women. We're seeing, you know, great deal of problems. And I'm sure they're going to be people that's going to address that because the to both have to go hand in hand. I just think that I can identify better with with with the young men and I think they identify and relate to me much better and I'm just going to stick with that. If you have a question or a comment for Carl Miller the number to call six five one two, two seven six thousand or one eight hundred two, four two two eight two eight or again, you can use our online service. Our web address is Minnesota Public Radio dot-org when you get there. Click on send a question Kathy from big lake has sent in an online question for you. Carl Eller. Kathy says, can you comment on the recent increase in game violence and misbehavior by sports figures and Kathy says how in the world can a parent explain these actions to our children and I suppose we should start with The Big Brawl the A brawl here a couple of weeks ago. Well Kathy, I don't think that is something you can explain to your kids. He'd know it was it just wasn't right. You know, I don't think there's any excuse for any player whatever the sport, you know to leave the playing field and go up in the stands to attack another fan. I mean like that doesn't make sense. The first of all the fan is someone that's there to watch the game will watch the event. You're the person who's putting on the performance, you know, and you're there to perform there isn't really any Interlink except to just you know, enjoy each other. I think that maybe fans are getting a little bit more Rowdy whatever but I just can't imagine that that happening and there's just no call for it. Do you think that we can expect more of that kind of behavior both from the fans and from the athletes or was this such a wake-up call that the people may actually back off and start behaving again? Well, I don't think you can expect more from the players. I just don't think that leagues are going to tolerate. I think they're going to clamp down. You know, I don't think they can tolerate it. I just think they have to step in and say this isn't this isn't acceptable behavior. Were you surprised at the are have you been surprised as this whole steroid thing has unfolded with the baseball players? Well, I Won't Say I'm surprised I'm you know little bit disappointed. I think he know probably like a lot of people are you know, you want to the things to be accomplishments achieve on a very natural, you know with all the natural aspects that you can have but I think it's something it's a tough thing to counter the problem is is that once it starts and once it gets out there then it becomes part of the part of the sport itself and and I would hate to see that what's the thinking with the athlete? How's that would lead them to use to use in this case banned substances, but a under any circumstance Stubbs substances, that could very well have bad health effects down the road. What's the thinking on that? Well, you know, it's that feeling that well. Hey, I can achieve stardom. You know, I can accomplish something that's going to separate me from the from the rest of the gang and and you know, put me on top. I give me a lead and and they think it's worth the risk, you know, it's hard to get that message out that there are some risk and at these risk could be very dangerous or life-threatening, you know, but they're going to come later and part of that thinking is is that you know, I can go in I can sort a temper this and do it such a way that I'm smart enough to manipulate it so that it won't hurt me and it's just erroneous thinking. Well, there are a lot of players using steroids and the like when you were playing not when I was playing in fact the weight training and the steroids was It was just beginning to come into professional football really towards the end of my career. And I know that they have a program there in the league now to to counteract that and to certainly detect it but players will challenge that you know, they'll try and and do what they can if it's going to if they feel it's going to make them better. What we need. Of course now is just to have those guys at the say of equal talent and and accomplishments to say. Well I'm not taking steroids. I did it naturally. Hmm. They'll your question Place. Well, first of all, I would like to take Carl a longtime friend. I'm very proud of your accomplishments and I am very proud of the speech you made at Canton. I know your work in the community and I want to encourage you to keep on doing that work. But Carl is the question that I want to raise is this morning. We announced that University of Minnesota had the lowest other the 10th lowest graduation rate. Athletes in the Big Ten this is an ongoing problem and it was part of the problem. That might have caused. My Boston is job and I'm real concerned that you know, five years later. We're still seeing low graduation rates at the University. This athletic director doesn't seem to be called into any accountability for it. And so my question is what should universities do to make sure the athletes are getting their education because it's on the one hand a contradiction to say to Young African-American men finish high school and go to college and maybe Sports is one way in which you can do that and then to see them go there and graduate and because you and I both know only a small percentage of them will reach the pros. Well bill, I appreciate your call. And certainly I'm familiar with your work in the community to and and the problem with University is something that we see at a lot of schools. University just doesn't do well in hasn't done. Well, it's not a real good record. It's not a good position to be in but I think that that certainly as an athlete you have to be committed to that player recruiting that player in that scholarship player is making sure they get an education because that's what we sell really and that's what the University's sales and that's what it's an institution for education. And so it should really be primed to be sure that that happens and when that doesn't happen, I think that's that's a mark on the University. I know they provide a lot of support with tutoring and and classes and things of that nature, but it has to be something more and I'm not sure what it is. I do know from my experience at the University that universities are very tough tough place. They certainly didn't cut into Corners. I know that sometimes, you know being an athlete at the University in the classroom did not win you any favors. And so maybe we just have to have a more of an atmosphere through the professors and through the rest of the college to accommodate these players in some fashion who who Bears the primary responsibility for those little graduation rates the student athlete or the school Well it Well, here's what you know, I think if you recruit a marginal athlete or marginal student, you know, you know that he's going to need some support and the and the university doesn't really make any concessions. So you're going to have to I think beef that those could you're going to have to beef up that athlete somehow give him more support that he can make it through the university. So I I think yes, the athlete is got to apply and I think a lot of them do but maybe they just don't get the you know, the the the support that they need. They think that they probably could use a little more support interesting online question from a man who says should the NBA the NFL and so on establish a requirement for a college degree to reinforce the message that education is important other words, I guess you under her plan. You couldn't play in the NFL unless you had a degree. Well the NFL I think is maintained its guns is that you have to give them the time to graduate. They won't recruit like basketball. They will not recruit you from high school or they want recruit you until after your graduating class has until four years after your graduating class. So that's not the same as having a degree, but they do allow you the time and I applaud the NFL for that because I think it's important one. It gives the athlete or the young student a chance to mature and to get ready for the professional leagues. And when you recruit them earlier, it really undermines the importance of education. So the suggestion is a good one. I don't think it's gone. Sorry, I wish I wish we could do something in that area John now your question, please I appreciate the opportunity to talk to. Mr. Heller and I was a kid that was you were my hero. Thank you. I teach advanced placement American history at Minneapolis North High School And I'm calling because I've got 50 little over 50 kids and my to AP American history classes and I think any of those kids are going to are going to succeed in college without any problem whatsoever there 95 percent African-American. I have many athletes couple guys that I'm going to go watch tonight play at my Minnetonka play basketball Minnetonka. And those are the kids that don't get any any type of recognition and I'm really tired. I see these kids coming from places that are unbelievable and are succeeding and they're succeeding on their own and they're succeeding from areas that that it's just unbelievable how they're succeeding John least a okay. Let me let me ask you a question here before we get a comment from Carl Eller what in your mind differentiates the kids who are doing real? Well from the kids who aren't doing well. Well, I think parents involvement has a lot to do. Whether they whether they have a good job or no job. I mean I see single moms going to work two or three jobs and showing up at our parent-teacher conferences the kids that we had parent-teacher conferences the other night who were the who are the kids parents that I that I saw none of the ones that I needed to see I saw the kids who are succeeding, but I just want to make one point. Okay is that is that you know, I say after school and help these kids with their AP stuff and to watch them improve is unbelievable. But the other part of that is that we get a lot of help from professional athletes in the community and it seems like a lot of those dollars go to kids that are really struggling with behavior problems and low-grade issues and the kids that really should be rewarded get ignored. Those are my kids and I mean, I'm Right. Now I'm trying to raise these kids want to we're going to try to raise money to go on a trip in the spring. I sent letters all over the place. I don't get one. I haven't gotten one response from anybody any of our professional athletes, but let's seems anybody in the community. All right. Let's get a comment from Carl Eller. All right. What what about this Carl Eller that the kids who are who are doing the right thing basically get ignored. They're not getting the extra help. They probably deserve and need. I didn't get the caller's name, but John John, I really support what you're doing and I certainly support everything you're saying. I just want to give you a little background as I had an organization called United States athletes Association and I'll talk a little bit more about that in just a minute, but that was the premise that we had because and the typical high school you have about 50% certainly at the Junior and senior great levels that are experimenting with marijuana or alcohol and or even higher with Halt so my rationale was is that led to reward the students who are not, you know involved in some negative kind of behavior and use that as an attraction and I did have a lot of success but but there was so many wars and so many fights the attention for the students who are doing well and achieving it just isn't there in the just the interest is just not there. And and I think that's unfortunate. You know, I talked to the National Football League. I wanted to work with some of the kids that come to camps and some of the mothers had bring their kids or parents bring their kids to these Sports Camps and they go well, you're preaching to the choir. Well, I think you do need to reward these kids that are doing the great stuff because it's tough for them. It's not an easy road to stay on the straight and narrow. So but the mindset isn't isn't out there and and that's unfortunate. But hopefully we will get there Steve has a question about your speech that you gave and the induction ceremonies Steve says how or did Bill Cosby's comments about African-Americans influence your Hall of Fame speech course Cosby gave that speech that was both praised and vilified depending on your Viewpoint. Well, you know, I know Bill Cosby I didn't have anything to do with his speech and I have not had any contact with him recently or even since his speech. I just know he's a kind-hearted person and would do anything, you know to help people and and I just hated to see him get get all the flak that he got. I just thought it was really unfair and and I certainly didn't think it had, you know anything to do with where his heart was you don't think he was guilty of blaming the victim. That was the charge in general. Yeah. I don't think it was it certainly was not an intentional. Micah your question for Carlile ER hi. Mr. Eller, you were an inspiration to me when I was a child going through school and trying to be an athlete as a runner and stuff, but I was interested in chemical dependency in the African-American community and what it was like for you kind of what happened and all you staying out of trouble today and that kind of thing. Okay. I am a recovering person. I continue to work work the program but I think it's one of those things in the community that we really have to take a hard look at maybe the community needs some support from outside in terms of the I know that one time that a lot of the ads were targeting into those communities where high risk and and and I think that we we're very tolerant of those kinds of things and I think that has to change, you know, we just have to be less tolerant of chemical use or chemical abuse and And and the acceptance of it in our community particular with our kids an amazing statistic though. Is that the African-American both male and female actually smoke less and there there's a couple of other statistics to where they don't binge drink as much so I think they do get the message in there as a fear out there of getting involved with it, but something happens, you know along the way after they're not getting those constant messages quite a debate underway and has been underway for a long long time about drug laws the argument on one side being we need real tough laws people who violate ought to be put in prison on the other hand. There are people who say no. No, that's the wrong approach what you where do you come down on that? Well, I know that there is a discrepancy between the laws that still in the books. I know that an African-American Community, they the use of crack or the possession of crack brings us stiffer penalty than powder cocaine. Team and they're both basically the same except the way you do one versus the other so the big discrepancy in the penalties associated with that. I'm an advocate of treatment because I know that there is a possibility and the potential of people, you know, being real rehabilitated turning their lives around and become a very productive. In fact exciting people in the community. I mentioned I continue the work my program I go to a meeting and and men and it's mostly all men have been in recovery for a long long time their lives of turned around and living a tremendous accomplishments, but their stories are very similar, you know, they they got down there to were they basically lost hope or they didn't have, you know, some help or whatever but that it finally came and they made the big turn around Aaron and I your question please yes. Mr. Eller. I just want to give you thank you for your giving back to the community. I wish my grandson was still around here to wear. He could hear you and go get some of your influence. And the other thing I want to do is I want to thank you. I just love it. Every time you come into the place where this retired old man works and what a lovely customer you are to have in the in the store. Well, thank you very much. I hope I spend lots of money but ha ha ha. Well, thanks for calling Gary what I've done since that the speech and I really appreciate you having me and it's a really wonderful lion, you know, I'm actually out of the mall. I have my little shop out there of doing a lot of graphing them this weekend. So people can combine. Where at where at the mall. I'm on the third floor there in what they call a community Booth is right in the food court. There are kind of on the south end. If you looking for him across from Famous Dave's but I've kind of turned the United States athletes Association into the karela foundation to continue this work. So it's something that I've taken really seriously and I've committed to it I've make a made a real commitment that to this Gary so it's fun to come in and be able to talk with you about how it's great to have you here how has being a hall-of-famer changed you or has it? Well, I think it has changed me actually. Well one thing I was very busy. We mentioned that we Locked up gun and talked a lot of people. But the thing that I feel in inside is is that you know, there was a lot of frustration and a lot of just emotion the wrapped up into you know wanting to be and feeling that I should be a Hall of Famer. I don't feel that stress as a tremendous relief and I think it's just allowed me to be more open and just I feel like I'm a better person which is kind of hard to say, but I think I am and any any second thoughts about about the speech that you gave I would think not given the positive response but on the other hand, I would think you've been overwhelmed as well. I have been overwhelmed Gary in that says that was a surprise to me, but the the consensus is that it was a very good and timely speech and the problem is is there and No, that's the reality of what we're dealing with. So I'm very happy about it. And once again for folks who tuned in late you will have Vidal have a nice ceremony for you at the Metrodome halftime during the Viking scheme. Yes. It's a actually get my ring. That's what the ceremony is. They'll give me my hall of fame ring at the at the halftime at the vikon Seattle game and they have this thing at the hall of fame. If you ever go to Canton and visit their they have a hologram where it shows the ring and you but you can't really grab it, you know kind of at ease there. Yeah. It's kind of a tease, but I'll have I'll get a real wouldn't you know, this this Sunday Carl Miller? Thank you for coming in today and congratulations in advance and in retrospect both for being in the Hall of Fame and for the big Ceremony this weekend. Well, thank you Gary. And also thank the call is for calling in our LL. ER former Minnesota Vikings defensive great who is now a member of the National Football League Hall of Fame former? University of Minnesota Star as well who set the world. Well, really turn the turn things upside down with it a very very interesting acceptance speech in Canton Ohio last summer. We're going to take a break for station identification. And then when we come back, we have a brand new American radio works documentary called carving up the vote how redistricting change the election landscape interesting look at why so many house districts in America are so uncompetitive. Your to 91.1 cater wfm Minneapolis st. Paul programming is supported by the American Lung Association of Minnesota and it's cars for Long's.com program, which can earn a tax deduction and help improve the lives of children with asthma information at cars for lungs.com or 800 lung USA. Hey, hey, hey tonight. You can see a special preview performance of A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor the news from Lake Wobegon and the Royal Academy of actors the show starts tonight at 8:00 at the Fitzgerald theater in downtown st. Paul tickets are available at the door and hey, hey. Hey you're so here's the Twin City weather forecast. We can look for some light rain. Maybe some snow flurries through the afternoon temperatures right where they are mid 30s right now. It's cloudy and 34 degrees tonight cloudy overnight low 20 to 25 and then tomorrow Cloudy Skies forecast with a high 35 to 40 chance for some snow on Sunday. It's 12 noon.

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