“It’s tough growing up in this country as a punter,” said Ray Guy. “Lots of kids will make fun of you. Bully you. ‘Hey, punter. Why don’t you go punt something, you stupid punter.’ Stuff like that. It can be hurtful. But it doesn’t have to be. Kids should be proud of being punters.”
Guy spoke today about his recent election for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Back in my day, and even now, punters were marginalized. There was a stigma attached to being a punter,” he said. “And with no punting heroes to look up to, it was easy for kids to lose hope and think they were worthless simply because they kicked a football down the field after their offense failed to get a first down. Hopefully me being in the Hall of Fame can help change that.”
Since last week’s announcement that Guy will become the first punter in the Hall of Fame in history, the former Raider says he has received dozens of messages from young punters across the country and around the world.
“I got a letter just today from a 9 year-old kid in Texas,” said Guy. “He’s the punter on his team and he said people make fun of him for that. But ever since I was picked for the Hall of Fame, people are being nice to him. They accept him. They think punting is cool.”
At the enshrinement ceremony this August, Guy said he plans to speak about what his induction means to punters and invites punters from around the world to attend the event.
“This is our chance to stand up and be counted as real people, real football players,” said Guy, choking back tears. “I’m the one going into the Hall of Fame, but I carry with me the punts of all punters. I hope that never again will young punters be subjected to locker room taunts, wedgies, noogies or swirlies. If my career has prevented even one punter wedgie, I can die happy.”
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