Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Athletes and Literacy -- through the Eyes of an Expert

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Athletes and Literacy -- through the Eyes of an Expert

Article excerpt

Dr. Ernie Turner was a professional football player for the Dallas Texans, a team that later became the Kansas City Chiefs. He left Virginia State University in 1961, some 12 courses short of receiving his degree and, by his own account, lacking many academic skills. Today however, he holds a doctorate from Fordham University and is the founder and president of Sports Educational Consultants, which works with professional athletes and their wives in their efforts to complete their education. Black Issues asked Turner to share his thoughts on the ongoing issue of athletes and education in light of the James Brooks situation. The following is excerpted from that conversation.

BI How common is illiteracy among professional athletes?

ET It is more common than you think. More than 75 percent of professional athletes do not have a degree. Many of them have been to college but did not finish. There are a lot more James Brookses out there than you think.

BI Where does it begin?

ET It goes back to families. You've got to get these athletes to look realistically at life. My mother tried like the dickens to help me. Today, I hear people talking about Whites exploiting Blacks and that does happen but at some point these athletes have to take responsibility for their lives. …

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