With eSports becoming more popular in some circles than live sporting events, it’s not a big surprise that video games are big with the younger generation of professional athletes. That’s not a new phenomenon either; NFL players have been battling at “Madden” for a long time.
But a great story by the Washington Post’s Sam Fortier on Redskins rookie running back Derrius Guice showed how video games have helped him connect with fans, and even raise some money for charity on the side.
Derrius Guice raised money for charity with “Fortnite”
The Post wrote that Guice, whose gamertag is “Dhasickest,” plays the popular game “Fortnite” while fans either watch on Twitch or play with him. He’ll engage fans on plenty of different topics.
Guice put a different twist on it one night in late June, the Post said. He wanted to raise money for a local cancer center so he started a GoFundMe and anyone who donated $5 got to play Fortnite with him. Those who donated more had a chance to win a raffle for some of his gear, the Post said. He ended up raising $4,000 in less than 24 hours and raised more than $20,000 total for the cause.
For a player whose reputation was dragged around by plenty of people as he unexpectedly slid into the second round of the draft this year, that’s a pretty cool gesture.
Video games was a subject Guice had to defend himself over/h2>
The Post story also delves into a topic that will become a regular one as a new generation of players comes up: Teams were rumored to pass on Guice, in part, because he plays a lot of video games.
The Post said that because of the criticism Guice is hesitant to talk about his love of gaming.
“I just don’t [defend myself] anymore,” Guice told the Post. “I had to throughout the draft process, but now that I’m in the league, I don’t have to anymore.”
There’s probably a bit of a disconnect between NFL decision makers and the millennial players they’re scouting. Teams want players who are entirely committed to football and might not understand that gaming is just a fun hobby for some and part of that generation’s culture.
Many young players love video games
Redskins coach Jay Gruden seems aware and accepting of his players’ hobby of playing video games online.
“If I graded somebody now because of video games, I probably wouldn’t have a football team out here,” Gruden said, according to the Post. “Everybody plays video games [in] this day and age. This Fortnite thing is going crazy, Madden, you know, they’re playing [FIFA] in there. They all play it. So, Derrius is probably most known for it, for some reason, but that had no bearing whatsoever on us taking him or not taking him.”
Whether or not a player is into video games is probably a debatable pre-draft “red flag” anyway, but teams are probably going to have to get used to it not being a bad thing. In Guice’s case, with the money he raised, he turned something that teams reportedly saw as a negative against him and turned it into a positive for a great cause.
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