Las Vegas Review Journal Notes The Off The Field Accomplishments Of Josh Jordan

May 11, 2009

ED GRANEY: Leadership no political football for Gaels grad
May. 10, 2009Las Vegas Review-Journal

His father won an AFC Championship with the New England Patriots and yet he has seen the commemorative ring twice. It might be just once. No one thinks about it all that much.

One day, the son was flipping through television channels and happened by a replay of a United States Football League game involving the Oakland Invaders. There was Dad. It was the first time he had watched the old man from his playing days. A total fluke that he even recognized him.

Josh Jordan knows the fortune of a sensible and balanced upbringing. His parents placed him on the correct path. As for the part about the child forming his own character, well, be patient.

You just might be voting for him to run the country one day.

'The only thing we wanted for our children was for them to be good, successful, hard-working, dedicated people,' Eric Jordan said. 'We never pushed sports, never talked about the NFL, never made football a priority. There isn't a picture in my house from when I played.

'We have talked about leaving something behind when he graduates college, about making things better for the students who are there and those who will come. He has always been a leader.'

He is the kid all of us should remember when things in college athletics seem so shady, so deceitful, so wrong, so overwhelmed with greed and corruption. He is the blazing sun to the storm clouds, the hope when it doesn't seem much exists.

Jordan is a redshirt freshman cornerback at Arizona State and former Bishop Gorman High School player who is making a difference in Tempe far beyond 100 yards of grass. He has embraced the political arena like he might an errant pass into the flat. With aggression and purpose.

A food bank for students. A program to assist those who drink too much and protect those they might harm. These are just two of the issues Jordan hopes to improve after winning one of four senate seats for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

College athletes -- particularly those in football -- and the remainder of a student community are often as divided as prosecutor and defense attorney. It's a gap Jordan wants to close by serving on the senate and, ultimately, as the university's student body president.

He didn't take part in student government at Bishop Gorman but secretly wanted to. Politics aren't some foreign concept to him. His father worked for eight years as the regional manager in the Las Vegas office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

His campaign at Arizona State included endorsements from Reid and Richard Steele, the Hall of Fame boxing referee who trains Josh's older brother.

'Watching my dad over the years, I learned how important it is to prioritize and really pursue those issues you want changed in politics,' Josh said. 'You need an open mind, to learn how to give and take. Everyone has their own ideas about where money should go and what needs fixing first.

'It never crossed my mind when running for office to just try and help athletes. I want to make an impact for all my peers and to enhance the college experience for everyone. ... My parents taught us to never be defined by sports, but rather how we treat others and what good we do with our lives. I work really hard in football. But it's just one egg in the basket.'

He will work toward discovering a place on campus where a food bank can be housed, then on stocking it for those students who can't afford to return home for the holidays or who are simply in need. 'Everyone,' Josh said, 'needs to eat.'

His other idea is called Devils Don't Drive Drunk, which would provide transportation home for inebriated students from bars and parties so they don't make the mistake of getting behind the wheel.

His long-term plans are a bit more detailed. He will follow football as far as it takes him. Then comes law school. Then comes another dive back into politics. He dreams of being a different kind of senator and perhaps more.

In his possession is a ticket to Arizona State's graduation ceremonies Wednesday. The guest speaker: President Obama.

'It is so surreal, watching him every day on television and now being able to see him in person,' Josh said. 'I'm ecstatic. The road he took ... it's very encouraging to a young African-American to never stop pursuing your dreams, no matter the obstacle. Who knows -- maybe one day I'll be asking for your vote.'

Find a way to fix the BCS mess, kid, and you have it.

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