When it comes to life in the NFL, perception is reality. As unfair as that may seem, it is the truth in regards to how players are treated both on, and off, the field. Several have found out the hard way through the judicial system, but in regards to Maurkice and Mike Pouncey, they have felt the brunt of poor decision making since entering the league.
The twins were seen wearing "Free Hernandez" hats supporting their then former teammate, now murderer, Aaron Hernandez while at a night club. Last summer saw the twins being questioned for a physical altercation at another club on the night of their birthdays (although not charges were filed) and Mike Pouncey was directly named in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal.
Not such a smooth journey from college into the NFL, but as the twins are learning, what the media portrays you can directly lead to a stigma around your image, or your brand.
"The world has changed so much that the public eye is everything," Mike Pouncey told the Ledger. "It's perception over reality. We know that you've got to do the things right on and off the football field, and we learned over the course of our careers to do that now. We're just glad to be positive role models in our community."
"We made some mistakes in the past and we learned from them,. I'm glad they happened because you always got to learn in life. We were young ... then, but we're grown up and trying to be the positive role models — something for these kids back in Lakeland to look up to — and it means a lot to us. Anytime we did get in trouble in the past, it hit us in the heart. We learned the hard way." Pittsburgh Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey added.
The twins are now determined to improve their reputation through charitable work through working with the youth in their hometown of Lakeland, Florida. They are holding weekend long camps for the youth in the area for football and cheerleaders in hopes of helping kids find the right path through athletics.
Unfortunately, in modern day life, the proof is in the pudding. The Pouncey's seem to be on the straight and narrow, but ultimately only time will tell if they will be able to not just improve their reptutation through charitable works, but also change their behaviors which gave them a poor image to begin with.