Louis Murphy, Jr., wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders and member of two Florida Gator national championship teams, came to the Pinellas County jail Annex II facility in Clearwater this afternoon to speak with approximately 100 inmates who participate in the Smart Choices Program.
Smart Choices, which began in 2008, is a modified therapeutic community program according to the sheriffs office Web site. The program works with male and female inmates on improving communication skills, workplace readiness and substance abuse education among others.
Murphy spoke with the male and female inmates in the graduation room about change and motivation.
I just want to share a couple of words of wisdom and I just want to speak on a couple of points, Murphy said.
Murphy said that the reason he is where he is at in life is because of his mother. Murphy cited that losing his mother on Valentines Day in 2008 changed how he lives his life. He said that losing her made him feel that he needs to speak about second chances. Murphys mother was a probation officer and a juvenile detention center teacher.
Murphy spoke about a tattoo he has that he considers a motto to live by. No struggle, no progress, a quote by Frederick Douglass.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Thats the motto I live by. Theres a lot of struggles. I lost my mother my senior year of college, right before the season. That was my struggle, he said.
Murphy told the inmates that their personal struggle is that they are incarcerated and away from their family. Murphy told them that they would get through it because, in his belief, hardships are what make a person stronger. He also said that what a persons attitude is determines how far they will go in life.
Your attitude determines your altitude. Your attitude determines how high youll go, he said.
Murphy said that his personal faith in Jesus helps him keep a positive attitude and said that is what gets him through his day. He also said that people shouldnt have a pity party when they are feeling down and that they need to take personal responsibility for their actions.
Murphy spoke at length about how his Christian faith plays a big role in how he lives his life and suggested to the inmates that they should find their own motivator to help them lead a positive life.
At the end of the speech, Murphy opened the floor to the inmates to ask him questions. The questions ranged from football to inspirations.
One male inmate stood up and said, I just want to say that youre an inspiration. Another inmate, a female, echoed the sentiment and said that he is not just an inspiration to men but also to women.
Murphy responded saying, I want to be an inspiration to the kidsto everybody. Everybody has a chance. Everybody can make it. I truly believe that.