Friday, May 21, 2010
Jairus Byrd asks you to lead by example
Jairus Byrd doesn't want you to donate a kidney. He doesn't expect you to contribute $10,000 to charity.
All he wants you to do is something nice when you're not obligated.
"Just simple things, like helping an elderly lady you don't know carry her bags," Byrd said. "A lot of people talk a big game. 'You know, it would be really nice to do something for that lady.' Take the time out of your day and help someone else out."
Byrd, the Buffalo Bills safety and the NFL's only two-time runner-up for defensive rookie of the year, has launched a new cause to encourage people simply to be good Samaritans. Louder Than Words is a Twitter page that promotes what Byrd calls "random acts of kindness, a pay-it-forward kind of thing."
Byrd started the project to give people an alternative to the headlines dominated by the likes of Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger and Lawrence Taylor.
"We met with him after the season and he said 'There's so much negativity in the world, it would be nice to associate myself with something positive,'" said Tom Savage, managing director of pro football public relations for U.S. Sports Advisors. "He really wanted to start something that was all positive."
Savage said the goal is to grow Louder the Words to the point where Byrd can put money into play, particularly home makeovers to help families in need. They've already decided to call them Byrd Houses.
Byrd's page is so new it had only 162 followers as of early Friday morning. It's loaded with links to stories that publicize good deeds.
"What I'm hoping for is that it blows up," Byrd said. "I really want people to catch on to how the littlest things can impact lives. If you get everybody doing this, it can be powerful. People will be impacting lives in ways they never thought they would."
True to form, Byrd demurred when asked about the recent scandal he became innocently linked to.
Byrd finished second to Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing for defensive rookie of the year, an award handled by The Associated Press. Once it was learned Cushing had violated the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the AP held a revote. Byrd finished second again.
"I really didn't have a reaction," Byrd said. "I kind of just sat back. Everybody was talking about it, but there was nothing to react over. It was never my award.
"You always want to be the best in your class. That's a great award, and anyone would want the award, but he had a great season and deserved that award. His numbers spoke for themselves."
Byrd deserved the award on the revote, which turned into its own controversy when the panel made statements with their recast ballots.
Yet he refused to express any dissatisfaction in the process. Not getting involved in the uproar underscored his message: Actions do speak louder than words.
"You keep moving," Byrd said. "We're preparing for the next season already, so it wasn't anything I was thinking about."