Nov. 9, 2016
Whenever his days on the gridiron are over, South Carolina junior linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams has aspirations of being on television. While it’s not uncommon for former student-athletes to try their hand in front of the camera, talking sports, Allen-Williams has a different goal.
“I want to be a political correspondent one day,” Allen-Williams said. “My grandfather and I used to watch the news together growing up. I just always had a fond passion for journalism.
“My grandfather (Bert Allen) was in the military for 25 years. Every day, we’d watch the news. Growing up, I would talk to him about the news. That made me very interested in politics. That made me interested in knowing everything that is going on in our world.”
While shedding blockers and learning coverages are challenges with his current passion in football, Allen-Williams knows there are other challenges ahead of him.
“When you look at athletes on television, you always think of them as being sports analysts,” Allen-Williams said. “When I came here, that is something I talked to my academic advisors about. I want to break the mold that athletes only go into sports. That’s just a passion of mine.
“I could change people’s minds by being a political correspondent. You don’t see a lot of athletes becoming political correspondents. Football will only last for so long. At the end of the day, whether it’s after my senior year, or 10 years from now, football is definitely going to end. I’m definitely excited to be one of the first athletes that is a political correspondent, or the first athlete on CNN.”
The biggest thing in journalism is that you have to be objective. You should just report facts. If we had more journalists like that, it would be a lot easier for citizens to get information.Bryson Allen-Williams
As the son of former NFL defensive lineman George Williams, Bryson Allen-Williams listened when his father told him that someday, he will have to be ready for life without football.
“My dad had a big impact on me,” Allen-Williams said. “He just talked to me about some of things you go through. My first two years here weren’t as positive as I wanted them to be, but he told me to focus and that God has a plan for me. My family has a lot of faith. At the end of the day, things that happen are meant to happen. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to step up my play this year.
“Not everybody is going to make it to the NFL. We have a lot of guys who come back and tell us how only a small percentage of us are going to make it to the league. My father played in the league for a little bit. He didn’t get his degree. That’s the one of the things he tells me all the time. He told me that when I go to school, make sure to take advantage of your opportunity.”
A native of Ellenwood, Ga., Allen-Williams noted that he voted in the recent election via absentee ballot. Although he is young, he understands the gravity of the recent election cycle and appreciates the need for accuracy in reporting.
“There is a lot of hearsay,” Allen-Williams said. “But it’s an election. It’s a very different election than what we’ve had in the past. I do my own research outside of watching TV. A lot of people said a lot of false things about both candidates. For me to be a proper citizen and a proper voter, I need to be informed on those things. In the media, there are a lot of biases, going both ways. The biggest thing in journalism is that you have to be objective. You should just report facts. If we had more journalists like that, it would be a lot easier for citizens to get information. I do think there are a lot of good journalists out there.”
As he juggles football and academics, Allen-Williams is not shy about passing along advice to his fellow student-athletes.
“I tell the freshmen that academics are very important,” Allen-Williams said. “You don’t want to get a degree in something you’re not going to be able to use somewhere down the line. With upperclassmen, I tell them to make sure they take the right classes and to make sure you get the major that you want to do because this is going to set you up for the rest of your life.”
He wisely does not discuss his own political leanings, but he used his analytical skills to speculate on which of his teammates would be a good candidate for public office in the future.
“On our team, the one most likely to become president would be Elliott Fry,” Allen-Williams laughed. “He’s a very likeable person. He’s very charismatic. If Elliott ran for president, I’d vote for him. His campaign slogan should be ‘If you want the right guy, pick Fry.’ “
While Allen-Williams is focused on trying to keep the Gamecock football team on the winning path, he is also excited to talk about improving himself for his future off the field.
“I have to be more vocal and enunciate more,” Allen-Williams said of his on-camera presence. “I know I can do it one day.”