By Nick StahlThe NFL has a lot to say about its diversity and inclusion.
But some teams have a history of making players out of non-native speakers.
We talked to some players to get an inside look at the different language skills teams are looking for, and we’ll look at what they can expect from the next wave of NFL players.
As a member of the Denver Broncos organization, former offensive lineman Chris Kuper is a big fan of playing with his native English, which he learned while playing football in England in the late 1990s.
He credits a visit to a language club for making his passion for the sport.
“It gave me a really strong sense of identity and how we all relate to each other,” he said.
“Being a part of a club that teaches language and has a culture of language and people of different languages is just a really great thing.”
Kuper, who grew up in the United Kingdom, is currently working in the sports management industry.
He said that while he enjoys football, he finds it’s a lot more fun playing on the field when he’s in his native language.
“It’s a different culture to go out there and play,” he told ESPN.com.
“I can’t wait to play in a language that is so authentic.”
The language clubs in the NFL have come a long way from their early days, but they haven’t fully caught up with the times.
In fact, the league has made some strides in recent years.
The National Football League, for example, is one of the few leagues in the world to recognize the linguistic abilities of current and former players.
The NFL also launched a language training academy in 2018, which is a step in the right direction.
But it’s not just about the language skills.
It’s also about cultural sensitivity, said NFL head coach John Harbaugh.
“A lot of these kids have a culture that is not necessarily what the majority of people are,” Harbaugh told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
“They’re not the majority.”
The latest edition of our podcast focuses on how language is important in today’s world.
You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or TuneIn.
Follow Nick on Twitter @nick_stahl