United Way and the NFL celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting a Virtual Character Camp with the Munoz Foundation on October 13, 2020. Numerous middle schoolers around the country tuned in to hear advice from NFL Hall of Famer and former Cincinnati Bengal Offensive Lineman, Anthony Munoz, on how to “live a hall of fame life.”
Accepting others’ differences and embracing your uniqueness was the theme for the discussion that was moderated by Lisa Matthews, team reporter for the Arizona Cardinals. The other panel members included Rolando Cantu, former Cardinals player and current International Business Ventures Manager for the Cardinals, and Mandy, Cardinals Cheerleader. Students even got a special visit from the Bengals’ mascot, Who Dey, and the Cardinals’ mascot, Big Red!
Everyone on the panel was of Hispanic descent which they boldly exclaimed and rejoiced about in the beginning of the panel discussion. They encouraged students to embrace being multicultural as well.
“In your classrooms, your neighborhoods, and your future jobs, there are going to be people who don’t look like you, who think and talk differently than you, and even believe different things than you, but we’re all working together to make this world a better place to live,” Munoz said.
It was also emphasized to students that athletic ability is not the most important trait of a successful athlete. Instead, it’s the way you carry yourself outside of sports and how you treat others that matters the most. At the beginning of the camp, students were taught three positions in football: running back, offensive lineman, and quarterback, and three important traits of an athlete that correlate with those positions which are trust, empathy, and communication.
“It’s not only what you do on the field, it’s [also] the message behind it. It’s what you do when the lights are not on, it’s what you do when you’re at home… I think that’s the message that’s important for me from the character camps,” Cantu said.
Munoz stated that he started the Character Camp out of a love of being mentored while growing up and wanting to pass that on by motivating great young people around the country. He is hoping that the camp will continue to grow over the years.
To find out more about Character Playbook, click here.