What Daniel Jones Taught Us

On Sunday, September 22, 2019, New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones stunned the sportsworld with a masterful performance of resilience, confidence and mobility for his debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The facts are clear: Daniel Jones tied an NFL record for the 2nd largest comeback victory by a rookies quarterback in his debut. It was also the Giants’ largest comeback victory since 1970 (we’re talking about almost 50 years ago).

As an avid NY Giants fan, I greeted the Giants’ first draft choice this year with trepidation. Most people never heard of Daniel Jones and did not pay attention to Duke’s football program. But, Jones’ debut as the starting QB for the Giants have awakened fans and foes alike. “Who is he?”, “Is this sustainable?” or “Alright, good start. But that defense is terrible!” are the statements and questions you’ll hear. NFL analysts and commentators will use much airtime and ink opining about his performance and future. But, here are three lessons Daniel Jones taught us in one game:

LESSON #1: YOUR PRIVATE DISCIPLINE WILL HAVE A PUBLIC DEBUT.

Daniel Jones has been working hard behind-the-scenes, earning the respect of his coaches and teammates alike. Like veteran QB Eli Manning, Jones is not flashy or boastful. He lets his game speak for itself. His private discipline and work ethic was met with a public (and national) opportunity to let his work shine.

After watching Jones’ performance, I was reminded of the value of private discipline. When you make the decision to commit to focused work, you may not see the results right away, but you will see them. And there are no shortcuts. Work is work. When you hear “I’m on my grind”, the probability is extremely low that the public declaration matches reality. If you’re on your “grind”, you don’t have time to talk about it. Jones didn’t have to talk about it…he was about it.

LESSON #2: YOUR WORK WILL OVERCOME “THEIR WORDS”.

I love the Monday morning quarterbacking. I love the revisionist history. The re-interpretation of the historical record cannot be overstated. When Daniel Jones was drafted #6 by the Giants in April 2019, the commentators were quick to dismiss the draft pick over potential franchise QB Dwayne Haskins (from THE Ohio State University) as “crazy”, “uninformed” and downright “stupid”. To their credit, most commentators were not aiming to disrespect Jones’ game, but they did not offer much confidence in it either.

When Jones lead the Giants to a comeback 32-31 win over the Buccaneers, the narratives began to change. Apologies were offered. Reconsideration of Jones’ talent and skill began. But Jones’ skill never changed. It was simply on full display. Here’s the lesson: Let people talk. Stop trying to manage the opinions of others. While they talk, you keep working hard to improve, to grow and to reach your goals. Your work will overcome their words.

LESSON #3: STAY HUMBLE IN YOUR SUCCESS.

After the game, I watched Daniel Jones’ interview and taking questions from reporters. His humility and words of his successful debut game as a “team effort” was refreshing to hear. Sure, there are many NFL players and athletes that offer words that speak to teamwork and winning as a whole organization. But, most would not have blamed Jones for taking a victory lap or giving a “take that” attitude. But, that’s not Daniel’s character. And that’s why he is the toast of the town and a proud addition to the NY Giants roster.

When you reach success and fulfill your goals, stay humble. Like Jones, recognize that your success is linked to how you go about achieving success. I heard Pastor Dharius Daniels of Change Church once say, “There’s such a thing of being successfully successful.” Your success, staying power and respect given to your work is based on how you successfully pursue your goals and achievements.

Whether the NY Giants have a successful and woefully disappointing season, one thing is clear: Daniel Jones has a great future in the NFL and we can learn from the lessons he taught us just by playing the game. — RF

Guest Speaker: Refuel Young Adults Service

EMBRK’s Refuel services exist to connect young adults from across the Tri-State area, and unite them in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with our Creator. Ryan will be sharing a word on the theme for 2019: CONTENDING for a generation.

Prayerfest 2018

Ryan will minister at Prayerfest 2018 on Friday, July 27, 2018 at Christ Church West Campus in Rockaway, NJ.

Guest Speaker: Trinity Christian Center with VOTNG

Ryan will minister the Word of God at Trinity Christian Center (TCC) at the 9:30 AM & 11:30 AM services. Voices of the New Generation will also minister in song at both services. Lead Pastor: Rev. Tyrone McDonald.

The Silence of the Good People

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Throughout history, the destructive forces of oppression and abuse have been stoked by evil intentions, agendas and behavior. Yet, there is another source that can fuel insidious plans — the reliance on silence. Over the years, I have learned the value of silence for a specific reason — to listen closely to learn and grow. Keeping quiet for the purpose of being a student of others and situations is an admirable quality and discipline. But, the motivation to stay silent because of the consequences is a real fear gripping the hearts of many. Too often, our culture has exposed the destructive force of silence when it was necessary to speak up.

The fear to speak the truth in love and bring correction can be attributed by the addictive comfort of convenience. The convenience of not saying anything to avoid being the target of attacks, false accusations and slander certainly maintains the status quo. But, it can also lend itself to being complicit to a system, person or thought that only serves to cause greater pain. More than ever, our culture is facing some hard and inconvenient realities that must be addressed in an assertive manner. If not confronted head-on, it can serve to exacerbate conditions that are not helpful to anyone.


SEXUAL HARASSMENT & ABUSE


For example, the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns are a few movements have shed light to a long-standing problem of sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation. Every time we hear a report of a celebrity, leader or influencer being toppled by substantiated claims, you may hear a collective sigh of disappointment. But, you may also hear others voice (after the claim) a lack of surprise. Why is that? It may be due to their knowledge of the person’s behavior in years past and a refusal to address it for the sake of their career or to curry favor. With all due respect, this is part of the problem. As more people speak out and share their stories, we must be diligent in investigating what happened and ensure it doesn’t happen again. I’ve wondered how many more people have stories that they are afraid to share because of what they think will be the consequences. How many more people are living in daily fear? While easier said than done, we must support the victims and their courage to speak out on their behalf and for the sake of others. We can no longer be silent or be silenced. As Dr. King stated emphatically, “the silence of the good people is the ultimate tragedy.”


OUR POLITICAL CLIMATE


The same applies to our current politics. For years, political allegiances have caused those who are supportive of a candidate or leader who has said or done something inappropriate to remain silent or to defend the indefensible. In the 1990s, when President Bill Clinton acted inappropriately in the White House, too many supporters of the President defended him. You may have agreed with his policies, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to speak directly to his lack of character. It also doesn’t mean you’re being hypocritical. When President Donald Trump reportedly called nations in Africa and Haiti, s**thole nations (Link to Story), such language from the leader of the free world has been universally viewed as unacceptable. Whether you agree with President Trump’s policies on immigration, the economy or his leadership of the nation, can we agree that such language will not make america great again? I’ve been dumbfounded by the silence of the good people and how anyone who values character and integrity can defend such remarks. The coarsening of our culture, the increased partisanship in our politics and the voluntary segregation of aligning with those who only agree with us, have led us to this moment. It is unfortunate to conclude that too many people will overlook clear infractions of dignity and respectability for the purpose of their agenda going forward.


SYSTEMIC INJUSTICES


Another area where silence has been destructive is the systemic injustices in the United States and our world. Whether it is the shooting of an unarmed person and its disproportionate amount in minority communities, the economic disparities amongst communities, gentrification, or even how American citizens are detained, incarcerated or addressed in our prisons, the silence is deafening. At times, the silence is due to not having enough information to address the matter. For those reading this blog, I encourage you to seek out reputable resources that can help in the study of these issues. The silence of the good people may also be due to the conflation of our opinions to facts. As the late NY Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan was once quoted saying,

You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.” 

In a culture that is peppered with the phrases “fake news” or “alternative facts”, we must be even more diligent in searching out the facts of an issue and debate the best course of action for the betterment of society. We shouldn’t dismiss debate, but we must reject the deliberate effort to intentionally mislead.


WHAT CAN WE DO?


I’m encouraged by those who are speaking out about injustices and inequality for the purpose of resolution and healing. There will always be voices serving the agenda of division. But, as we reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., these voices are muffled by the collective voices of justice, healing, racial reconciliation and peace. It could be dismissed as naiveté, but I truly believe in the best of our humanity and civic discourse. The silence of the good people has reached a breaking point. Will we speak up on behalf of the defenseless, the helpless and the unprotected? And when we speak, will we add value to the national conversation? Join forces with a non-profit organization addressing societal injustices daily. Use your platform to address matters of concern and let your voice be heard. Call your local, regional and national legislators to voice your concerns. Make your voice heard in the voting booth. Hold your leaders to account for what they do or don’t do — what they say or don’t say. Collectively, let’s make sure when we speak, we have the courage of our convictions to follow through and backup what we say. In the words of Dr. King, “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” – RF


ABOUT AUTHOR

Ryan E. Faison is the College and Young Adults Pastor at Christ Church in Montclair & Rockaway, NJ and the Executive Director of Young Adults United. Ryan also serves on the Clergy Advisory Board for HomeCorp in Montclair and the Nyack Alliance Theological Seminary Alumni Association. Ryan serves as a preacher, worship leader, and producer at Christ Church. Ryan has been married to Kristyn (an educator and worship leader) for 7 years and lives in Northern NJ. Connect with Ryan online at @RyanFaison (FB, Twitter, IG, Snapchat, Periscope).