Editor’s Note: He was a division 1 college football player with a pre-med degree… and now the highest distinction for any student: the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Myron Rolle has a difficult decision, head to the NFL or head to Oxford? Watch Don Lemon’s full report tonight on AC360°, 11p ET
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As interesting as you might find Myron Rolle's personal story and accomplishments, the bottom line is will he accept the Rhodes Scholarship, or go for almost certain millionaire status in the NFL? It’s a tough choice. What would you do?
I didn’t ask him right away. I wanted to save it. I enjoyed the suspense. And frankly, I really liked playing out the scenarios in my head. If Rolle takes the money now from the NFL, he could quickly realize his dream of helping needy children. And who knows if the NFL will even be interested when he returns from Oxford University in England? A lot could change in two years. A Rhodes scholarship, however, doesn’t guarantee riches. But it is an accomplishment that only a select few can claim. Former President Bill Clinton, New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, General Wesley Clark, to name a few; have certainly made their marks on society. It’s a real moral dilemma.
I met Rolle for the first time at dinner in the player’s cafeteria in the stadium. Rolle wore a designer suit by Sean John and a Burberry necktie; which made me self-conscious about wearing blue jeans and an open collar. The rest of his teammates wore sweats and as they walked passed us mumbled, “hey Mr. President” or “hey Mr. Rhodes.” All in good fun though, it’s obvious how proud they are of him.
In just under an hour I learned more about Myron Rolle than I know about some of my own relatives. Because of good genes, he basically eats whatever he wants. His dad and mom emigrated from the Bahamas before Rolle was born. His family is his main support system. His mother, Beverly and three of his brothers moved to Tallahassee from New Jersey to be near him. His dad and his other brother visit on weekends. At least one of his family members has been at every single football game, basketball game, baseball game or school play. He’s quite the performer. But as fate would have it, his mom told me, the only event her “baby ever went to alone” was his final Rhodes scholarship interview in Alabama. In an island accent Beverly Rolle said, “We waited on pins and needles. And it just happened to fall on the same day as his game in Maryland.” Myron Rolle told me he never had a second thought about what to do. He had to go to Birmingham. So, with legendary coach, Bobby Bowden’s and the NCAA’s blessings, the university chartered a private jet to get their star safety back in time to finish the game. Fans waited. His family waited. They heard nothing for hours. Finally, Rolle called his mom who he calls “Mummy.”
As we sat in an empty Florida State stadium, cameras rolling, Myron Rolle recited the call to me. “Put Mummy on the phone,” he said. “Mummy, I won.” She screams, "AAAAAAAHHHHHH."
“Mummy, relax, I have to tell you more,” Rolle says.” Then more screams. He says he had to hang up and text his dad and brothers because his mom couldn’t quite gain her composure. Being a momma’s boy I understood and it almost made me cry. I could see my mom doing the same thing. Mothers are so emotional. That’s why we love them.
So, the time had come for me to end my suspense. “You are going to take the scholarship and go to Oxford?” I ask. And he answers. But I’m not going to ruin the suspense for you. You’ll have to watch the story on AC360°.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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