As I discussed here, the Ting brothers have decided to forego their USC football careers in order to focus on their ambitions of attending medical school. Scout.com recently had an exit interview with the twins.
It's a decent interview that covers a number of topics, but a couple things stand out. The most shocking is their revealing of death threats that Ryan received for not making the interception in the final minutes of the Rose Bowl.
B: Ultimately, we want to be remembered as people who did what they could for the team in any which way or form - and had fun doing it. We want to be remembered as hard workers who, when given the opportunities, did what they could to help the team. Our teammates know who we are and I'm sure, based on the relationship we've had with the fans, they know who we are as people, too. Hopefully that will take precedence over some of the negative experiences we've had.
R: No disrespect to you guys [WeAreSC.com] because we love what you do. But we really don't go on the message boards ever since the Texas game - because of that play where many have criticized me for not making the interception. It kind of disheartened me. It was disheartening because after the game, people I didn't even know would call me, and e-mail me. I got death threats--
Are you serious..."death threats"?!
R: Yeah. It's crazy. It was disheartening for me because we have read the message boards in the past. But I think it crossed the line and got to the point where I was going to try to block it out. Since that game, hearing those comments...of course it's not everyone, and the fans for the most part have been very supportive of us. But it kind of took its toll on me just because I was criticized for the choices I made during that play. But the public doesn't know what went on during that play.
I think we all understand the significance of that game. History was at our doorstep and we came up a little short. Should Ryan have made that interception? Could he make it? I don't know. But regardless, that sort of behavior is not acceptable. In the past few months SC has had it's share of character issues that have put a bit of a cloud over the program. The Ting's have been the perfect example of character, balancing academics and athletics and staying out of trouble. This is what college athletics is all about. Were they star players with a future in the NFL? No. But they gave their heart and soul to the team and groomed the new players coming in with what is expected at USC.
On their view as role models:
B & R: The harsh reality is that there is an absence of Asians in sports. But it doesn't matter what ethnicity you are. If football is your passion, and you give 100% to it, there is nothing that can stop you. It might sound like a cliché. But as for our experience, it was true. We didn't have many Asian role models in football to look up to growing up. We took on being role models unconsciously and didn't know what impact we had until little Asian children started coming up to us saying they looked up to us. There are Asian kids in Pop Warner who e-mail us. It's special knowing that people look up to us. When you're you growing up, race never really plays a factor just because as kids growing up, you just want to play. But as you get older, it is unavoidable. We take race in stride because when we were young, we didn't think we were doing anything out of the norm.
These guys are classy no doubt about it. They are humble and yet comfortable in the roles that they will have in society. The harsh realities of life are not lost on them and they want to do their part in giving back with what they are so fortunate to have.
Regardless of what some may think about their level of talent, their leadership will be missed. Their aspirations of becoming medical professionals with hopes of giving back in order to help people is refreshing. As a member of the healthcare community this sort of attitude is a welcome change from what I see day in and day out. I see great things or them in the future.
In regards to the bigger picture fans should support their players on the field regardless of their perfomance. Yesterday's mistake could be tomorrow's success. We owe it to all of our players to respect their abilities. We should cheer them for their successes and support them when they make mistakes. To do anything different, not matter how frustrating, makes us look bad and we are better than that.
Good luck Brandon and Ryan.