Nearly 141 billion letters were mailed in 2014 alone, and many handwritten letters hold a sentimental value to those who receive them. Some of these letters are sent to professional athletes by young fans, who see them as role models.
Some letters are answered, and some are lost in the shuffle. But thanks to The Players’ Tribune, a new media site founded by former Yankees captain Derek Jeter that allows athletes connect directly with their fans through first-person narratives, the athletes are now more connected with their fans than ever before.
Players contribute to featured series of the publication, as well as share their thoughts and feelings about the sport that they play as well as what’s happening in their personal lives.
One of the most recently published narratives is an open letter by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. But unlike other open letters that have been published previously, this one is not addressed to fans and spectators. It’s addressed to his son, Chosen, who turned one year old on Christmas Eve.
“Every time I go out, everybody always asks, ‘Why can’t we see his face? I want to see Chosen. How’s Chosen doing?'” Newton told ESPN last month. “So after long thoughts, I figured after his first birthday I’m going to release a couple of pictures for everybody to see on his whole maturation to this point.”
But “a couple pictures” ended up turning into a whole video, which was Newton’s gift to his son during the holiday season.
In the video, which can be seen below, Newton gives his son some words of encouragement for the long life ahead of him.
Newton narrates the video in rhyme, telling his son to be better than him, and that he does not have to become an athlete to be loved.
Newton believes that this gift to his son would be much more meaningful to his son when he comes to understand the meaning.
“Now his mom is all into buying him stuff,” Newton said. “We’ve got to get him this. We’ve got to get him that. We’ve got to get him these shoes. We’ve got to get that car…I’m like, ‘He’s not even going to remember what his outfit was.’
“I want to be able to do something for him that he will go back and look and track over the years.”