Rob Gronkowski is one of the NFL’s most recognizable party animals. He still goes about his off-field life very much like a frat boy and has never shied away from letting everyone know his favorite number is between 68 and 70. Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the the most volatile players in the league and has been fined multiple times for his outbursts on the field.
So it’s somewhat surprising that the NFLPA was telling incoming rookies to look up to Gronk and OBJ during the Rookie Premiere. Ahmad Nassar, the president of the NFLPA’s for-profit subsidiary, NFL Players Inc., said that these two are doing things other rookies should emulate, per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.
“Some people think he’s just this extension of a frat boy and that it’s sort of accidental,” Nassar said. “And that’s wrong. It’s not accidental; it’s very purposeful. So the message there is: Really good branding is where you don’t even feel it. You think, ‘Oh, that’s just Gronk being Gronk.’ Actually, that’s his brand, but it’s so good and so ingrained and so authentic you don’t even know it’s a brand or think it.”
Beckham Jr. has also turned his NFL accomplishments into endorsements, landing a gig with Head & Shoulders in addition to the Madden 16 cover last year.
So, in the sense that these guys are making money because of their football careers, sure, players should try to emulate them. And they’ve not run into any off-field trouble, which is laudable. But it’s interesting that these two are being touted as players to emulate.
Of course, the third member of the trio Nassar used for his speech — Dak Prescott — is far easier to defend. He’s been nothing but a breath of fresh air since joining the league as a rookie last year and has manage to land some huge endorsements in the process.