NFL star quarterback Baker Mayfield ripped into the administration at an Ohio high school for dropping valedictorian and salutatorian honors out of sensitivity to students who don’t earn the awards and a concern for the overall “mental health” of students.
“This is so dumb,” said the Cleveland Browns quarterback in a Saturday tweet captioning the news. “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,” added Mayfield.
The message went viral, racking up over 51,000 re-tweets and 242,000 likes.
As noted by The Blaze, Mayfield himself “worked hard enough” to achieve his dreams, becoming the first-ever walk-on player to win the coveted Heisman Trophy and then proceeding to score major success in the NFL:
Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy in 2017, becoming the only walk-on player to ever win the premier college football award. Mayfield then became the 2018 NFL draft’s No. 1 overall pick and was headed to the Browns. He went on the break the NFL rookie record with his 27th touchdown pass last December, having started only 13 games.
Cincinnati’s Mason High School announced Thursday that valedictorian and salutatorian honors will be eliminated starting next school year. Principal Bobby Dodd told FOX 19 NOW in a statement that Mason will instead recognize “students who have achieved outstanding academic success through a multitude of pathways.”
“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.”
Dodd states that the move “will help reduce the overall competitive culture at MHS to allow students to focus on exploring learning opportunities that are of interest to them.”
Starting with the 2020 graduation class, Mason High School will use the Latin honors system, noted FOX 19 NOW: “Mason High School students with a GPA of 4.00 and above will be designated summa cum laude. MHS Students with a GPA between 3.75 and 3.99 will be designated magna cum laude. MHS students with a GPA between 3.51 to 3.74 will be designated cum laude.”
“The paradoxical nature of class rank within the culture of MHS does nothing to decrease the competition among students,” noted Dodd.
Jonathan Cooper, Mason High’s superintendent, defended the move on Fox News on Monday, citing a spike in suicides.
“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.”