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NFL Player Returns Sons' Participation Trophies

The Short of It

NFL linebacker James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers thinks his kids should earn trophies for their athletic performance. So when his two sons came home with participation trophies, he posted a note on Facebook saying he would be returning the awards.

The Lowdown

Harrison has worked hard to land his position in the NFL, and he hopes to set a good example for his kids. He says kids should be rewarded for working hard, not just for showing up. And he's proof that hard work pays off. He was cut more than once after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent, but he has been to five Pro Bowl games and was named to the NFL's First-Team All-Pro squad twice since joining the Steelers in 2007.

After seeing his kids' participation awards, he posted a photo of the trophies and a note on Facebook that read:

"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 to 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 [sic]"

The Upshot

From school activities to local business-sponsored sports leagues, it's not uncommon for children to receive medals, trophies or ribbons simply for showing up and trying their best. Giving out these types of awards are supposed to make the children feel valued and important. I've been to many events where these participation awards are presented, and the kids love it. They smile for photos with their awards and bask in the attention. I personally don't see the harm in it.

Do you think Harrison is overreacting or is he right on point?

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