Washington and Pittsburgh aren’t on the best of terms as sports cities, but at least now we know that two of their most iconic respective stars are on the same wavelength when it comes to youth sports: Both Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper hate participation trophies.
Harrison’s rants about the automatic celebration of all children partaking in youth sports dates back nearly two years. Harper’s is considerably more recent. Saturday, to be specific.
As reported by NBC Sports, Harper was speaking to a Washington, D.C. Little League team on Saturday when he launched into the attack on participation trophies.
“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”
It’s unknown just how well Harper’s message resonated with the players he spoke to. He clearly approached the meeting with a heavy dose of levity, and parents responded to his initial comments with a giggle.
If nothing else, Harper’s comments are likely to reignite the national debate over youth sports and how we celebrate our children’s accomplishments, or lack thereof.