NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith: Player Protests Are “Beautiful”

Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith joins Cheddar to discuss the latest NFL news. He reacts to Cam Newton’s comments, and subsequent apology, that a female reporter asking about routes was “funny.” Smith says the comment was not appropriate but that the apology was real. He hopes the reporter and women around the world will accept Newton at his word. Smith’s former team, the Dallas Cowboys, and owner Jerry Jones took a knee before the anthem during the game against the Rams last weekend. Smith, who won the Super Bowl three times with the team, says it was a “beautiful thing.” He says the team met about the decision to kneel and made the decision collectively. He also takes offense to people who say football players should just stick with football and not get involved in politics or human rights issues. Plus, Smith’s thoughts on CTE. He’s very concerned about the brain damage in players and doesn’t think this issue is going away anytime soon. In addition, Emmit Smith talks to us about his partnership with Michelin and National Teen Driver Safety Week. He explains why he would never get into a self-driving car. Full Transcript: Well, our next guest is NFL all time leading, a rusher a three time Super Bowl champion and Pro Football Hall of Famer. We are so happy to have with us, Emmitt Smith. Emmitt thanks for joining us. Thank you all for having me on your show. A lot to talk about with you today of course you’re here promoting National Teen Driver Safety Week with Michelin. We want to talk to you a bit about that, before we get to that though big news with the NFL right about Cam Newton, of course, Panthers quarterback, and the sexist comments that he made to a female reporter on Wednesday, and then Dennen dropping their partnership with him on Thursday. What do you make of his comment? Well, obviously his comments were not appropriate. And I thought the contrite reply, and the apology last night was, was real. I thought it really hit him that he did something that was not appropriate and he’s paying a price for it, and now it’s just a matter of watching, how you respond to everything else from this point forth. So, it is, what it is right now, and hopefully the female reporter accepts his apologies, and all the females around the country accept his apology as well. Now is a matter of watching him and seeing him where he goes from here. Can he grow from there? And can he stay focus on, on quarterbacking? And try not to make the same mistake again. Emmitt, I also want to get your thoughts on the protests that have been happening in the NFL. Of course, you’re a cowboy, and last week Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, the whole team, essentially locked arms and kneeled before the anthem, before rising for the Star-Spangled Banner. What are your thoughts on the protests that are happening in the NFL right now, and also would you, if you were playing today how would you handle it? Well at the end of the day, just look at this, from a holistic standpoint. You’re talking about the National Football League entirely, to my owners and team members, players. The thing, the beautiful thing, if you want to look at it, the beautiful thing in doing this protest, they all did it collectively, everybody does something together. They sat down in a meeting room, and discuss what they were going to do, all of them, which is a beautiful thing, they came together, come together, to do something protest peacefully and do it in the right way, and do it in the most respectful way that they possibly can. Now everybody outside, is going to dissect it, no matter what. But the reality of the fact is, they did not do it lightly. It took some thought, it took some time, it took a lot of different people here in different views, from every side, and coming together, say, “Okay, this is what we’re going to do as a team.” Because football is a team sport, and we try to do everything collectively together as a team. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but most of the time everything is done as a team. And this would have happened when you were playing, do you think the response from the league and the players would have been different at all or the same? I think it’ll probably been the same, we still have taken the same approach, and to come together, his size, players have the means, coaches come in have means, owners come in and say what they have to say. The Players Association along with the league, and when Roger Goodell from the top down to the bottom, all were down to players, come together and say, “This is what we’re going to do, let’s do it.” And what do you make of the idea, the comments that some people make today, let’s say football players should stick to football, and not get involved at all? I find it very offensive, because I’m an American just like everyone else is, and I have the same rights just like anyone else does. And so, if you’re trying to tell me I should stay in my place, stay in my place. That doesn’t even sound American, stay in your place. Who are you to tell me to stay in my place? Am I not an American. Do I not pay taxes? Do I not have the right to vote? Do I not have the rights that you have? To have the right of free speech and the freedom to do all the things that everyone else does. Because I’m a football player, you’re trying to tell me I have no say at all, even in the political realm. Right. There’s so many things that we want to talk to you about. And then, let’s also get now to what you’re doing to promote teen driving safety along with Michelin again for the week. Well, I’ve teamed up with Michelin to bring more awareness to teen drivers. I have a 15-year-old son that I’m teaching how to drive a car. How is that going? It’s going fine, it’s going fine. But just like most parents, I’m nervous, he’s nervous. He’s frantic, I’m a little frantic watching him drive, trying to tell him to watch out for the curves, and all those kind of things. But at the end of the day, is really about bringing awareness to the complexities of driving a car, and the risk that’s involved with driving a car, and a lot of us, parents want to send our kids out, and pray that they’re going to come back nicely and everything else. But there are some things that Michelin has made me aware of it as well. In terms of the car itself, let’s talk about the wheel. When you hit the brakes, the wheel stop, but the tires themselves is actually what stops the car. Because, if you don’t have the proper air in your car, you may reduce your stopping rate, down by 20%. And so knowing some of these little tricks and trays of the skill it is, skill of driving that is, can help save your life, can help prevent any major accidents occurring. Would you trust your 15-year-old son, in an autonomous car, self-driving car? Or do you feel more comfortable with him behind the wheel himself? I guess, me personally I’m so accustomed, to driving, and learning how to drive. But for my son, he’s probably accustomed to someone driving him around. Of course, he’s just learning. Yeah, well, he’s accustomed to daddy driving, mama driving or nanny driving, somebody is driving him around. And so, he might be very comfortable sitting in the car, and not having someone driving and having the car drive itself. I’m not. I’m not because, I guess I like to feel like I’m in control, I can see things and I’m aware, I’m a defensive driver, all of those kind of things and I understand when you hit the brake, and when not to hit break, I could see things occurring before they actually occur. I’m not relying on technology, because sometimes technology does fail. And so, you have to have some kind of responsibility there. Alright, I’m getting some questions from the control room, from some of the super bands at Cheddar. Okay? So we have to ask this. Do you think your record will ever be broken? This are from Paul. And if yes, who do you think will do that? I have no clue who would do it, but I can honestly say this. If a human being did it before I did it, and I came and broke his record, it is possible. I just don’t know when and I don’t know who. No one that you have your eye on right now though? No, I have my own right now. It’s too early to tell. Alright, what else do we got from the controller? Okay, okay, If you could do it all over again, would you go to the Arizona Cardinals? Or would would you retire with the Cowboys? Yes I will. I would still go to the Arizona Cardinals, knowing that going to the Arizona Cardinals help bring closure for me, and I think closure is something extremely important, like him, apologize. Trying to bring closure to a situation, so that he can move forward now in the most positive way. That’s what the Arizona Cardinals did for me, they gave me the opportunity to bring closure to my football career, and say okay, this is truly passed me by, I understand why, there isn’t anything else for me to accomplish, outside of getting hurt. So let me go in transition and move forward into the next phase of my life. Okay, I got a question for you, Jerry Rice wide receiver, stories that he used to crash weddings. Nowadays is, nowadays is. Now he’s crashing weddings. Now he’s crashing weddings. This is what’s happening. Yeah. I don’t know if you saw this last week. Jerry Rice is crashing weddings. Every weekend, he’s crashing weddings. To do what, dance? Get pictures, meet the bride and groom and congratulate them. So he’s like it’s a pretty good thing going for retirement. So he has now become the wedding crasher. The wedding crasher, the real life wedding crasher. This is what’s happening right now. Wow. Is this something you’re going to start doing. No. He’s having a lot of fun doing it. That’s great for him. Not for me. You know what, with what you learn with dancing with the stars. I’m still not going to crash anybody’s wedding. Yeah. No. I know it’s kind of embarrassing to you right. It is your thing. You know what, I would have been, I got married about a month and a half ago, I would have been totally okay with you crashing our wedding. That would have been totally okay. Because I don’t know nothing about your wedding. Alright, well next time. Maybe if I know, but you know i think it’s cool for Jerry to probably crash people weddings, but what happens if you crash someone wedding that doesn’t want you there. Regardless of who you are. Well, I think that is happened, that is being happening recently, some of the unwanted wedding crashers thinking one in particular. Now. Before we go, I wanted to ask about your business career. Right. That you’ve essentially turned into a super, a successful business person following your career with the NFL. What advice do you have to people who want to be entrepreneurs? Who wanna start their own businesses. Well first of all, being a entrepreneur is not easy, and you have to understand all risk factors that are involved, but I’m a firm believer in following your passion. You have to step at your own faith. You have to do all your due diligence and research, make sure you have a nice little niche for which you really are trying to do, and be prepared to compete. Because once you start competing with some of the bigger players in the marketplace, obviously they think that you trying to take market share, which you are, but you may offer something that they may not be offering, you may pay attention to the details that they don’t want to pay attention to. So as some businesses are so large, that they don’t want to deal with some of the things that you have the capabilities of dealing with. So, I just say go forward, be courageous and go forward, and give it your all, give your best shot. I mean, don’t be afraid, because fear is the one thing that paralyze us all. That is certainly true. The recent research that we’ve seen to, in CTE and the brain disorders, and the brain damage that can happen from playing. You agree with this? You think that, this is forth coming, that this would be beneficial to the league? First of all, I think you asked some question about CTE as a whole, and I think it is very concerning. Because new information are just expose with CTE, has been about and where it resides, and who is more exposed to it. So, I am concerned as a player, as a former player, but I think the league has done a tremendous job, in terms of trying to minimize those type of things right now going forward for current players and so forth. I think there’s a number of mad scientists, if you will, they’re trying to figure out how to create the right kind of helmet to protect players brains and other people’s brains as well. But CTE is something that’s not going away. It’s something that is going to be more in the forefront in the near future. Because of players like myself, if I come down with it, now you have a personal connection with someone that you can truly identify with. Some of the players that you’re dealing with right now that you identify with, probably play for some of our time, and so we don’t have that true connection, and it hasn’t really hit us like that. But, is prevalent right now, and is something that we need to get prepared for. We have to finish up real quick, knowing what you know now, would you let your son play football? My son is playing football. I cannot take another person’s passion away from them. I think, same thing I said about being an entrepreneur. Same thing he has to go through himself. But, my job as a father, is to monitor his injury situation, monitor it closely. Monitor the number of concussions make sure we have a good base, if he has to go in and have a brain test and so forth. So we have a baseline to see if any deterioration started to take place within the brain, over time. Alright, well we’re going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining us. Thank you guys. That’s Emmitt Smith, Pro Football Hall of Famer living legend joining us.