Eugene Robinson stands as one of the all-time object lessons in Super Bowl history, and he wanted to make sure his Panthers co-workers heard him loud and clear.
“Don’t be like me,” Robinson said of his message to the team, via Eric Prisbell of USA Today.
Players said Robinson’s message to them was an eye-opener, after he relayed the story of his arrest for solicitation of a prostitute the night before Super Bowl XXXIII. The then-Falcons safety had just won the Bart Starr Award for character and leadership, but then became the wrong kind of focal point as the Broncos targeted him early and often en route to a win.
“It’s easy to lose your way when you are selfish and thinking about yourself, and that’s the only thing you are thinking about,” Robinson said. “And that’s what I did. To hear the word solicitation is still painful for me. I’ve got to call it what it is. I don’t try to sugarcoat it. . . .
“If a team beats you, that’s different. But if you beat yourself, that’s criminal. I allowed myself to beat myself and to beat the team, and that was criminal.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera called Robinson (who now works as a color analyst on the team’s radio network) “courageous” for sharing his story.
It’s not the first time Robinson has relayed it since that night in Miami 17 years ago, and he’s moved on to become a popular figure in Charlotte, where he also co-hosts a midday television show.