The InSideOut Initiative - a nonprofit aimed at transforming the "win-at-all-costs" sports culture in communities across the country and co-founded by NFL veteran Joe Ehrmann and Jody Redman - today launched in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams teamed to host trainings in partnership with the California Interscholastic Federation and educational leaders at the LAX Airport Marriott. Former Chargers wide receiver CURTIS CONWAY and Rams executive and former UCLA running back JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN were in attendance. Together they addressed participants on the important role coaches play in prioritizing character development, moral growth and other values in sports over a win-loss record.
Three out of four American families with school-aged children will have at least one child play an organized sport - approximately 45 million children. Less than 3% of high school athletes will go on to play college athletics and only a fraction of those - less than 1% - will ever play professionally. As such, success cannot be defined solely by the scoreboard. The InSideOut Initiative provides a blueprint for systemic change and focuses on the development of the educational, social and emotional well-being of each student-athlete. Data from the pilot year shows the Initiative is creating the space for intentionally providing character growth opportunities for students through their sports experience.
"In the game of life, it's not about wins and losses, it's about the journey," said Chargers Head Coach ANTHONY LYNN. "If you win, but do so by cutting corners, what does that say about who you are? That's a shallow, meaningless victory. Win or lose, if you compete with integrity, respect and sacrifice yourself to the point where you know you gave your absolute best when it was demanded of you, that is when you have something to be proud of."
"We believe in the power of character and relationship building – it is the foundation for being a great teammate and contributor to society," said Rams Head Coach SEAN MCVAY. "The work that the InSideOut Initiative is doing to develop the next generation of student-athletes is outstanding and we're excited to extend our support for this cause."
Powered by the NFL Foundation and piloted in Colorado and Texas in 2015, the InSideOut Initiative catalyzes partnerships with educational leaders, state athletic associations and NFL teams to address improving the current sports culture and engages stakeholders in strategic conversations to re-define the role of interscholastic sports in the lives of students and communities.
"With positive adult leadership, student-athletes gain valuable life-long lessons that can only be learned through education-based athletics," said CIF Executive Director ROGER BLAKE. "The CIF is excited to partner with the NFL Foundation, Chargers, Rams and the InSideOut Initiative as together we can build student-athletes of character in California high schools."
"The NFL Foundation is excited to work with the Chargers, Rams, CIF and local organizations to launch this impactful program in Los Angeles," said Executive Director of the NFL Foundation ALEXIA GALLAGHER. "With the help of strong leadership and a supportive community, football provides athletes with the opportunity to develop much more than physical skills. The InSideOut Initiative gives coaches in communities nationwide the tools they need to make a real difference in the lives of their players."
Los Angeles is the seventh NFL market – following Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis and New Orleans - to implement the InSideOut Coaching Initiative. The evaluation of InSideOut is evidence based and assesses the degree to which the Initiative: 1. Aligns communities: saturates school communities statewide with the shared common language that supports co-curricular, character-based, transformational coaching of education-based athletics; 2. Establishes Support: develops a clear set of expectations of all stakeholders that supports this purpose and; 3. Prepares and Empowers: intentionally provide character growth opportunities for students through their sports experience. To learn more please visit insideoutinitiative.org.