NFL quarterback Baker Mayfield has always been a hard worker. He walked on at two different universities and became the starting quarterback for both schools, leading him to win a Heisman Trophy. In the 2018 NFL draft, Mayfield was drafted number one overall, then went on to break the NFL rookie record for the most touchdowns in a season.
Mayfield isn’t one to shy away from social media, so when he came across a news article that explained an Ohio high school was planning on removing valedictorian and salutatorian honors in an effort to make everyone feel equally accomplished, Mayfield couldn’t hold his tongue.
“This is so dumb,” The Clevland Brown quarterback wrote on Twitter. “You’re telling me competition doesn’t bring out the best in people? If you want something bad enough, work for it. People are too soft.”
His post immediately set the internet ablaze with 52,000 re-tweets and 243,000 likes. Cincinnati’s Mason High School, which is the school in question, announced that the removal of these honors will take place in the next school year.
The school’s principal, Bobby Dodd, issued a statement that read: “We are moving to a recognition system eliminating valedictorian and salutatorian honors, and shifting to recognizing students who have achieved outstanding academic success through a multitude of pathways,” the statement reads. “The recognition system will reward our students for genuine academic success based on their academic accomplishments.”
According to The Spun, Dodd defended this swift change by claiming it “will help reduce the overall competitive culture at MHS to allow students to focus on exploring learning opportunities that are of interest to them.”
The school’s superintendent, Jonathan Cooper, defended the drastic change by arguing that the move will hopefully decrease student suicides from overly anxious students.
“As our community looked at some unhealthy patterns the rise in anxiety and depression and suicide,” he said. “It’s the second leading cause of death in youth today across America, so we started to look at what we can do as school leaders to make a change.”
While increased attention to student suicides is encouraging, it would seem that this move only proves Mayfield’s point: “People are too soft.”