When an athlete gets in some sort of trouble, such as drunk driving or drug use, that he will inevitably promise to amend his ways and donate time or money to fight the problem. It’s an easy thing to say. But actions, as they say, speak louder than words.
So it is worth noting that Joba Chamberlain was at Nutley (N.J.) High School on Wednesday morning, speaking before a crowded audience of students about the dangers of drunk driving. It was was the sort of thing Chamberlain said he would do last fall when he was charged with DUI in Nebraska.
Chamberlain spoke for 20 minutes and took questions for 15 minutes. “Just something I wanted to do,” he said. “It was a good experience.”
A day later, an e-mail came in from a reader named Jaclyn, who graduated from Nutley a few years ago. She heard Joba was going to be there and made her way into the auditorium.
“He was really cool and seemed to enjoy being in a room with a bunch of 17 and 18 year olds. He got a real kick out of a lot of their questions,” she wrote. “After talking about his DUI experience, he sat in with the baseball and softball teams for about ten minutes, along with some of the members of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). I asked him to sign a ball for me. He was totally gracious about it and even signed something for my friend. Just thought I’d pass it along.”
It seemed like something worth passing along to you. I saw Joba speak at a college in January and he had pretty much the same message.
Doing some good deeds hardly absolves Joba of what he did. But unlike many of his peers, he kept his promise to try and teach others not to make the same mistake he did. For that, he deserves credit.