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Heroes of character

Hero worship has long been a mainstay of the American culture, but who we worship and why has also been a subject of debate.

I call your attention to two entirely different events recently where one noble deed flew virtually under the radar, while another became a topic of debate.

Does anyone recognize the name, Antoinette Tuff?

Tuff was the DeKalb, Ga., elementary school clerk who, without any specialized training as a hostage negotiator or in police tactical skills, talked a 20-year-old man out of possibly committing a tragic act.

According to news reports, the young man in question had breached school security and told Tuff he was on parole, mentally unstable and not taking his meds.

He also told her he had multiple rounds of ammunition and had nothing to live for, but he didn’t want to harm the children in the school.

Tuff, a great-grandmother, called 911 and told dispatchers she wanted to avoid any violence and proceeded to calm the man down, using her own life experiences as an example.

She persuaded the man to disarm himself and lay down on the floor and wait for paramedics to take him for treatment.

No one was hurt in the incident, which could have had dire consequences had Tuff failed to convince the man to lay down his weapon and submit to treatment.

Does anyone recognize the name, Johnny Manziel aka “Johnny Football?”

How about Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback of the Texas A&M football team.

Manziel sat out the first half of his team’s season-opener Saturday against Rice University for what the school said was an “inadvertent” violation of NCAA rules involving signing autographs.

Manziel threw three touchdown passes in the second half to help lead his team to a win, but it was his taunting on the field that drew just as much attention.

On one occasion he appeared to mimic signing an autograph while getting up from a tackle.

His head coach later took him out of the game following an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for pointing at the scoreboard after a scoring pass in the fourth quarter.

Manziel has adopted a smug and childish attitude, in my opinion, since he became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy last season.

Some people have told me a smug and arrogant attitude is justifiable if the athlete or person in question can back it up.

I respectfully disagree. Success in any endeavor in life, whether athletics, politics or business does not forgive arrogance or a smug attitude.

A person’s character is reflected in his or her attitude toward themselves and their fellow citizens.

Tuff is a true hero of character worthy of recognition in my book. 

Manziel, for all his talent as an athlete, still has some life lessons to learn.