The Chicago Bears just gave the veteran defensive end Julius Peppers the ax. However, it was the friendly ax…thank you for all you've done for the Bears …however you’re getting too old (34)…there’s the money issue…and you haven’t been that “good in the sack” department (football reference only).
Sigh. So it goes in the revolving door world of Pro Sports.
Now, I don’t really know Julius, but sometimes when I get a little glimpse of a person – a peak into his or her behavior – I tend to form an opinion regarding their character.
So, let me tell you why I think I like Julius Peppers…
Flashback to a Chicago football season in the past. My Sports Guy and I were for some reason (can’t remember why) wandering through the Chicago Hilton on Michigan Avenue.
We pass the lobby and registration desk and My Guy stops dead in his tracks and excitedly proclaims, “Look – that’s Julius Peppers.”
Now, the lobby was very busy and there were long lines of all kinds of folks waiting to register – but I swear – I looked around and unless Julius was suited up in his orange and navy jersey et al that said PEPPERS on the back – I would not have recognized him.
You see, unlike My Sports Guy, I have not fixed the physical image of every sports figure in my brain, so that I could easily pick them out in an everyday setting in jeans and a sweatshirt.
For instance, at one point I pictured (in my unknowing mind) that the Bears Matt Forte was a French white guy. Imagine my surprise when I was watching a post game show where the sportscasters were interviewing Matt and as I focused on the screen, I realized that he was black. Who knew?
My obvious point is that if Matt Forte and Julius Peppers were both standing next to me waiting for a bus – I would have no clue whatsoever who they were. But, I digress.
Back to Julius at The Hilton: My Guy now points him out, and eyeballing a large, stately man – I take his word for it.
There Julius was, standing in line – actually way in the back of the line – checking into the hotel, holding a duffle bag and very patiently waiting his turn. Kids are running around, luggage is everywhere and I can detect the escalating murmur of complaints as the check in process seems to be going really slow.
We both stood there – kinda fixated on him from a short distance – and monitored him as he politely shuffled along like everyone else.
That’s when I decided that I think I like Julius Peppers.
Now, maybe a lot of sports celebs would do the same thing – I don’t know. But I would bet that a serious bunch of them regularly play the VIP Card and easily bypass the humble end of the line procedure created for the commoners.
Yep – you betcha. The snooty ones are checked in in a flash and discretely whisked away by a doting bell boy – separated from the peons (lest they be annoyed by autograph seekers, aka their fans).
But not Julius Peppers. Based on his patience and humility in line in The Hilton lobby, I think he is a good man. I think I like him.
Here's an anecdote that supports my premise: A while ago, we had attended a charity event hosted by Bears quarterback, Jay Cutler and wife Kristin Cavallari – a very worthwhile cause.
Admittedly, in addition to us wanting to support a worthy cause, we were drawn to the event as an opportunity to see the Cutlers. That’s OK, right?
So, in normal stalker mode, we waited by the door thinking that the semi-glam couple would make an entrance. You know, maybe a little shout out to the fan/attendees who were generously donating? Crazy, I know. We obviously lost our minds for a second with that idea.
Of course, the Cutlers were whisked in via a back door and up the stairs to the VIP area where we squinted at them from afar in a corner, well-guarded against any fan intruders.
Later they did make a stage appearance for what literally seemed like 2-1/2 minutes and then poof – they disappeared back to their VIP sanctuary. (Note: I’m not Cutler bashing…well, maybe a little…but just throwing out a little constructive criticism – I’m sure they can take it.)
Back to Julius. Now this is very hypothetical – but I am just surmising based on my intuition…
I don’t know if Julius is affiliated with any charities, but if he was and he held a fundraiser – let’s think about WWJPD (What Would Julius Peppers Do)?
I think maybe a guy like Julius - you know a guy who would take his place in line - would be right out there in the hub of it all – meeting and greeting his fans that have turned out to support his cause – high fives and autographs – just my guess as to WWJPD.
Breaking news…as I am scrolling down on my JP google search – looking to insights regarding his personal self not just football stats, I find a Tribune article written just after Julius first arrived in Chicago – the beginning of his Bears experience.
I read that in celebration of his signing, he bought 25 bottles of $350 champagne and distributed them to all of the patrons in a Chicago club.
That clinches it. I am going on record. I no longer think that I like you... I DO LIKE YOU Julius Peppers. Good Bye and Good Luck. Come back anytime.
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