Black History Month – Player Perspectives

In celebration of Black History Month, we are honored to highlight the personal stories of our members, sharing their experiences and journeys as we celebrate the rich history and culture of African Americans.

The following story was written by Edmonton Elks wide receiver, Emmanuel Arceneaux.

From my personal experience growing up in inner city, Alexandria, Louisiana, in a single parent home raised by a African American woman with no father figure around but just coaches & mentors, I learned at a young age that whatever I do, I had to keep moving forward. Society is quick to label you or make you a statistic due to where you’re from, but the most important tool you can have is being able to think for yourself.

Football was my outlet and fixed my entire situation. I was able to earn an athletic scholarship after playing only 6 games my senior year in High School. Fast forward to now, I have received my degree at Alcorn State University, and will be playing in my 14th year professionally having been with the, BC Lions, Minnesota Viking, Washington Redskins, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Frisco Fighters, and now the Edmonton Elks. I am now married with two sons ages 4 and 2 years old, a first time home buyer in 2019, and an entrepreneur.

Moral of the story: We are not a product of our environment, but we are a product of the decisions that we choose to make. I was that kid in the hood, with limited resources and all, but made up my mind to find a way, not an excuse. Whatever adversity we are faced with, we can overcome it.

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