Perfect spiral of words from Barrington native Cousins

Its really too bad Kirk Cousins got away from Illinois. This year’s wunderkind of the Big 10 grew up in Barrington before moving to Michigan for high school. Now Cousins is the starting quarterback for Michigan State.

He was chosen to be the student speaker at this summer’s Big 10 Football Kickoff Luncheon in Chicago. After seeing his speech, it is easy to understand why.

Here’s most of what he wrote and said:

“If I were to categorize my experiences while being a part of the Big Ten, I would place much of what comes to mind under the heading . . . ‘PRIVILEGE.’”

Ÿ “While many children dream of playing college football, relatively few have the opportunity. To be living that dream is a privilege.”

Ÿ “It has been an incredible privilege to have the opportunity to speak to young people: children, middle school and high school students, as well as high school athletes, in assemblies, chapels, graduations, and other assorted gatherings, due to the platform of playing football in the Big Ten.”

Ÿ “It’s been a privilege to be sought out by young fans, looking for an autograph on a picture or a scrap piece of paper. It’s very humbling . . . yet a privilege nonetheless.”

Ÿ “It’s been a privilege to be a member of a team . . . to come together with a hundred other guys, and to work to accomplish something that none of us could accomplish on our own. And it’s here, in this place of privilege, where perhaps danger lies. I have been taught that human nature is such that the ‘place of privilege’ most often and most naturally leads to ‘a sense of entitlement’ . . . the notion that I deserve to be treated as special, because I am privileged. The truth is . . . privilege should never lead to entitlement. I’ve been raised and taught to believe that privilege should lead to responsibility; in fact, to greater responsibility. The Bible says in Luke 12:48: ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.’”

Ÿ “Being a college football player in today’s culture is a privilege . . . a privilege that brings much responsibility.”

Ÿ “We, as players, have a responsibility to give our all for fans who spend hard earned money to watch us play.”

Ÿ “We have a responsibility to represent the name on the front of our jerseys, on and off the field, in such that a way that our fellow students, faculty, administrators and alumni have good reason to say . . . ‘He’s one of ours.’”

Ÿ “We have a responsibility to represent the name on the back of our jerseys in such a way that our parents, brothers, sisters, and family members have good reason to say . . . ‘He’s one of us.’”

Ÿ “We have a responsibility to work hard in the classroom, as good stewards of the education that has been given to many of us free of charge.”

Ÿ “We have a responsibility to treat, with respect, the people who cover us in the media.”

Ÿ “We have a responsibility to use the platform we’ve been given to provide a true example of what it means to be a young man to those 10- and 12-year-old boys who see us as bigger than life. I know this to be true, because just a few short years ago, I was one of those 12-year-old boys . . . and I remember well how I looked up to the players whose position, by God’s grace, I’m standing in today.”

Ÿ “We have a responsibility to develop and use our God-given talents to their fullest potential and to do so in a way that honors God and benefits others. I don’t believe it’s too far-fetched to think that we as college football players could make a significant positive difference in the youth culture of America, simply by embracing the responsibilities that accompany our place of privilege.”

Ÿ We could redefine what is cool for young people. We could set a new standard for how to treat others. We could embody what it means to be a person of integrity. We could show to young people that excellence in the classroom is a worthy pursuit. We could show that it’s more important to do what is right, than to do what feels right.”

Ÿ “While I believe we as players, do not deserve the platform we have been given . . . we have it nonetheless. It comes with the territory of being a college football player in the Big Ten. May we as players have wisdom to handle this privilege and the courage to fulfill the responsibility we’ve been given.”

As an MSU alum, I say forget about giving Kirk Cousins the Heisman Trophy. How soon will he be 35 so we can elect him President?

Chuck Goudie, whose column appears each Monday, is the chief investigative reporter at ABC7 News in Chicago. The views in this column are his own and not those of WLS-TV. He can be reached by email at and followed at