WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – New York Giants Kicker Steve Weatherford presented a raffle prize, won another, and talked about being bullied as a child for having OCD and ADHD Saturday night at an Irvington High School anti-bullying event.
“Irvington Rocks” fused student performances with speeches from school officials on the impact of bullying and how kids in Irvington have dealt with it. Weatherford also took the stage, and Yankees Manager Joe Girardi offered his thoughts in a pre-taped video.
In another pre-taped video, a woman says there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance.
“We’ve seen a change in the attitude towards bullying,” Irvington Mayor Brian Smith said. “It’s no longer ‘boys being boys,’ or ‘it’s part of growing up.’ We’re speaking up, stopping it, saying, ‘no’ that’s not cool anymore."
Smith met Weatherford at a fundraiser about a year-and-a-half ago and kept in touch. He asked the member of the 2012 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants to talk at "Irvington Rocks."
“This is something that’s really impacted my life and it’s something that I’m really passionate about,” Weatherford, a father of three, said of bullying.
While OCD and ADHD made school difficult for Weatherford and he was teased, he said he has been able to turn a perceived weakness into a strength. When he works out, he writes down what he wants to do and said he “physically can’t leave the weight room until every single rep of every single set is done.”
As far as ADHD, Weatherford said it has given him the gift of gab because he is restless and constantly talking. He said he has been working in the off seasons to develop his oratory skills in hopes of doing more motivational speaking, as well as becoming a television sports analyst.
“You have to stay positive, try to find a way to use those gifts to affect other people,” he said.
While overall attitudes may be changing toward bullying, cyberbullying is also changing the nature of the problem, Smith said.
“Now with the pervasiveness of social media there’s no hiding for victims,” he said. “You can’t just go home and be safe. You log in and it’s on Facebook or Twitter. You just can’t get away from it sometimes.”
Weatherford presented a signed football to a raffle winner, and won a New York Yankees jersey signed by Girardi for $425. After his speech, he said he would give it to Smith.