Tell CBS2 They Understand Both Sides But Mostly Agree With Steelers' James Harrison


RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An NFL player recently made headlines off the field because of the trophies given to his children.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison announced on his Instagram page that he is sending back his kids’ participation trophies because they didn’t earn them.

“I’m not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something  just because you tried your best,” Harrison wrote.

CBS2’s Christine Sloan spoke to a father and son who partly sided with Harrison.

“I would agree that it really takes away from the competitiveness of sports because if you think about it, if everybody gets a trophy everybody would think ‘I don’t need to do as much work as everybody else because we’ll get a trophy anyways,’” said Ryan Bialosky of Allendale, New Jersey.

When asked if he would make his son return a participation trophy, Jeffrey Bialosky said, “No, I wouldn’t make him return it.”

However, one mother from Ridgewood said her girls have gotten participation trophies.

“It’s just for fun,” little Josie Marino said.

And it’s a good thing.

“Everyone’s out there learning the sport out there to have fun and so if you at the end of the season are excited to get a trophy, why not?” Nina Marino added.

Sloan found out where some parents stand on the issue, but how many parents would have the heart to return their kid’s trophy?

Sloan: “You think this guy with the Steelers did the right thing making his kids return the trophies?”

“Yes, absolutely,” said Ammar Akel of Manhattan, adding “I would (do the same). There is only first, second and third place — no fourth, fifth and sixth.”

Harrison goes on to say he’s proud of his kids but that “sometimes your best is not enough, and that should drive you to want to do better … not cry and whine until somebody gives you something to shut u up and keep you happy.”

Some said those are harsh words, but the majority of people Sloan talked to are convinced that real world rewards should be based on merit – and kids need to learn that early on.

The organization Positive Coaching Alliance said Harrison makes a good point — that participation trophies undermine the opportunity for young people to learn some important life lessons about competitiveness through sports, Sloan reported.