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Unveiling Potential Hidden Beyond Paper Credentials

Affirmative Action has long been a topic of debate, sparking discussions about fairness, meritocracy, and equal opportunities. It aims to address historical inequalities by considering factors beyond academic achievements or qualifications.


In a similar vein, the story of Tom Brady, the legendary quarterback of the New England Patriots, serves as a compelling example of how success is not always determined by initial perceptions or what is on paper. Brady's unconventional journey, from being the 199th pick in the NFL Draft to becoming the greatest quarterback in NFL history, sheds light on the importance of recognizing hidden potential and the limitations of judging individuals solely on paper credentials.


Affirmative Action unveils hidden potential, the case of Tom Brady
Tom Brady Celebrating His Superbowl LI Victory. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tom Brady: What Happens When You Give Someone a Chance

Tom Brady's late-round selection in the NFL Draft was initially perceived as a stroke of luck by the New England Patriots. However, luck alone did not play a significant role in this decision. The Patriots had a clear vision and a thorough understanding of what they were looking for in a quarterback, even though they did not have an immediate need for one. Despite Brady's unimpressive physical attributes and lack of standout college accomplishments, the Patriots' coaching staff, led by Bill Belichick, recognized his exceptional mental makeup and leadership skills, which they deemed vital for their system.


While many teams were deterred by Brady's shared role as a quarterback at the University of Michigan and his seemingly unathletic appearance, the Patriots saw beyond these surface-level evaluations. They valued Brady's resilience, decision-making abilities, and his ability to rally his team to victory, despite not possessing the prototypical NFL body or impressive statistics. The Patriots focused on the intangible qualities that are often overlooked in traditional evaluations, showcasing their commitment to recognizing potential beyond mere physical attributes.


Just as the Patriots gave Tom Brady a shot when everybody else passed on him, affirmative action offers a chance for individuals that our society has overlooked. Affirmative action creates opportunities for minority groups that have historically been denied the resources and avenues they need to succeed.


The Patriots' decision to select Brady in the sixth round required sacrifices in other areas of their roster. Despite having a sufficient number of quarterbacks at the time, the team opted to keep Brady on board, displaying their belief in his long-term potential—all he needed was the opportunity to succeed. The Patriots' commitment to fostering Brady's growth and development, despite what everyone else believed about him, allowed him to flourish and eventually become one of the most successful athletes in sports history.


Believe in Someone and They Will Succeed

Tom Brady’s journey provides a compelling parallel to the concept of affirmative action, challenging the notion that success can be accurately predicted solely based on paper credentials or initial impressions.


The Patriots' decision to select Brady demonstrated their ability to recognize his intangible qualities and potential beyond what was evident on paper. More importantly, it highlights the team’s willingness to give Brady the tools and avenue that he needed to succeed. This example highlights the significance of looking beyond traditional evaluation metrics and considering the holistic qualities that contribute to an individual's success. If you simply judge how someone looks on paper, you’ll never know the heights they could have reached if you had given them a chance and the right resources.


Unfortunately, by ruling against affirmative action, the Supreme Court has taken away opportunities from so many young Americans who have the potential to do amazing things, but have been denied the necessary resources. All they need is for someone to believe in them.


By embracing the principles of Affirmative Action, society can unlock hidden potential, promote diversity, and foster a more equitable and inclusive future.


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