At the beginning of his video conference, Eagles Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz stopped and made a passionate plea to the PIAA and high school sports/football coaches and officials in the area to take real care about the decisions they are about to make today, August 7, 2020.
Here are his words:
"I want to touch on one thing you know, the PIAA is talking in about 30 minutes, I just want to talk a little bit about high school football.
My experiences, you know, I was 15 years old, my parents separated. I was the oldest of four boys, and the only thing that I knew how to do, the only thing I could express myself I was so frustrated inside, the only thing I could do was play football.
I focused, All I did was lift weights, play football play basketball. And that allowed me to kind of release my internal kind of stress and pressure that I have built up.
And Tom Wolfe yesterday came out with the recommendation that there is no fall football or fall sports in general, and the adversity I faced when I was 15 is about one 1,000th of what many kids in this day in particular are going to be facing.
If they don't have an outlet. If there is no football in the fall for these kids. I would just really challenge everyone that if the decision is no football...there's got to be an alternative to where we just allow these kids to go about their days with no guidance, with no further investment.
Obviously football costs money. So if they were to disband football, where's that money going to go?
I would love to see it invested in these kids to make sure that they're okay and taken care of, and not on the streets from [3 PM to 7 PM].
That's where I was fortunate enough to do. I was out of the community from three to seven.
I had organization after school with football and basketball, I couldn't imagine the path I would have gone down if I didn't have football to express myself.
So I want to see kids to be healthy, first and foremost, that is the primary goal. And I would just really challenge [everyone]...if that is the decision...to really think outside the box on how we can keep these kids safe." 8