Professional athlete James Harrison is making waves this week with his social media response to the trophies his children recently brought home.
Along with a photo of the two awards, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker shared in an Instagram post his rationale for forcing his sons to return them.
He maintained that they “received two trophies for nothing,” noting that his reaction is not about his kids’ performances.
“While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die,” he wrote, “these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy.”
Apologizing to anyone offended by his belief “that everything in life should be earned,” Harrison maintained that he is “not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best.”
While at least a few of the thousands of comments that followed his post cited the ostensible benefit of participation trophies, most agreed with Harrison’s assessment.
@dparish83 My parents taught me I can reach my dreams,but only if I worked harder than others.A participation award goes against that spirit
— ℞ (@TheFakeZwoG) August 17, 2015
One Instagram user concluded that receiving such an award won’t necessarily stop a participant from trying harder: “it does mean that the kid that’s out there working everyday [sic] to get better is earning just the same as a kid staying at home not working on his game.”
Are participation trophies beneficial? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.