Rolle was a standout safety at Florida State who could have easily stepped on to the NFL stage with a multi-million-dollar contract.
He instead decided to accept a scholarship to study at Oxford, where he is taking a year off from football to earn his M.A. in Medical Anthropology and hopes to become a neurosurgeon.
He also started a foundation that has built a free medical clinic in his ancestral home of Exuma, in the Bahamas; he established a program to benefit foster kids in Florida; and he started a physical fitness program called “Our Way to Health” at five Native American schools in Arizona and New Mexico aimed at diabetes prevention. The U.S. Department of Interior even contacted Rolle to help expand the fitness program, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told the Wall Street Journal.
You would think such behavior would merit great admiration and media attention, but Rolle’s decision has involuntarily opened himself up to a mountain of criticism from sports fanatics and commentators nationwide who have labeled him a “sell-out.”
“Often a lot of so-called friends would say, ‘Myron, you’re a sellout. you’re focused on school so much, you talk properly, you tuck your shirt in your pants. You do things differently than all of us cool kids,” Rolle said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “Cool is my own definition of cool. That’s what’s important. Cool to me is getting straight A’s. Cool to me is scoring three touchdowns. Cool to me is shaking the hand of our mayor. Cool to me is helping out at the nursing home. Cool to me is playing in the jazz band, and playing the lead role in ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ I like to define my own path and my own journey.”
ESPN reported that Rolle trains two hours a day, preparing for the NFL as he studies in England. But NFL experts now estimate that his decision to pursue higher education has cost him at least $8 million.