James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn’t want anything to come easy for his sons, including participation trophies.

Harrison’s two sons recently were given “participation trophies” for athletes, and Harrison took to Instagram to explain why he returned them.


“While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy,” the Pittsburgh player wrote in his post. “I’m sorry I’m not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned.”

Many on social media agreed with Harrison’s stance on the trophies, while others didn’t understand why his 6- or 8-year-old couldn’t be rewarded for participation.


“These little boys are 6 and 8. They played by the rules and got a participation trophy. So what? Don’t we all get reviews at work? Don’t we get ‘participation raises’ even if we’re not the very best on the team? Most people are just ordinary and never the best as anything at all. Why would a grown man feel that it’s appropriate to start ‘Be a man’ lessons at such tender ages? Does he beat them when they cry, too? What a control freak jerk,” one commenter posted on TheScore.com.


#HarrisonFamilyValues may not work for everyone, but it seems as though Harrison is well aware of the fact that children, especially those of athletes, are often treated “special,” and it’s definitely a way that he’s keeping his kids grounded. 

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