GCM 130 | Second Chance


Everybody deserves a second chance, an opportunity to bounce back and have another try at winning in life. You might have heard that quote thrown around pretty much everywhere, but it is certainly true in so many levels. For TEDx speaker, hip hop artist, pastor and certified John Maxwell coach, Darryll Stinson, tells us why. As a thought leader on athletic transition and founder and CEO of Second Chance Athletes, Darryll helps forgotten athletes seize opportunities to find a fulfilling career and build their legacy. In this interview with Rodney Flowers, Darryll talks about second chances in careers, in reconciliation, in interpersonal communication and in life itself. Also, don’t miss out on their insightful conversation around the issues of racism and racial reconciliation in America.

Listen to the podcast here:

How To Bounce Back From A Low Point And Win In Life With Darryll Stinson

As always, I am excited about the show. I have an inspirational brother with me by the name of Darryll Stinson. He is a thought leader on athletic transition. As a dynamic TEDx speaker, hip hop artist, pastor and certified John Maxwell coach, he shares his life experiences of overcoming addiction, childhood rejection, mental illness, depression, and multiple suicide attempts to produce success in his life. Darryll played defensive end at Central Michigan University from 2008 to 2011, where he supported his team as they won the Mid-American Conference Championship and became the 23rd nationally ranked team. Darryll founded Second Chance Athletes, a holistic athletic transition company in 2017 to help athletes who are passionate about creating their legacies, increasing the visibility, impact, and revenue. Welcome to the show, Mr. Darryll Stinson.

I’m excited to be here. It’s going to be good and exciting. When I’ve read your story, I was so inspired because I had come out with a song called Defy the Statistics. I wrote it for a community of recovering addicts that we minister to here in Metro Atlanta. It was a broader message than that. It was because they have been told statistically that they will not make it because of their disease of addiction and many of them have blemishes on their records that they are not likely to succeed. The same applies to mental illness. The same has applied to where I come from my neighborhood. There are many statistics that say you can’t or won’t, but I believe that with God, we can defy the statistics. I saw your story and I was like, “I’ve got to send you Defy the Statistics. You are exactly the type of person that I wrote it for because they said that you’ll never walk, but you defied the stats.” I love it.

I appreciate that. I love your passionate energy. I have an instant connection with you. I wanted to talk about Second Chance. You’ve started this company called Second Chance, a beautiful name, but I want to understand the purpose and the meaning behind Second Chance. What are you talking about?

I’ll tell you where we started and where we are. It started because I felt like I got a second chance to succeed in life. Not only from surviving suicide but also because I was able to work for the university when I graduated, which enabled me to go back to school and take undergraduate classes that I had already passed. It was mainly because I knew how to cheat. I had the right degree, but I didn’t have the experience and the knowledge that I needed to succeed in the workforce. I felt like I got a second chance to succeed in life without the demands of sports. I want to afford that opportunity to other athletes who maybe they graduated from college with the right degree, but then have the experience or the internships that they needed.

We can help them to go back to school and also coach them on professional development so that they could be successful in life and get that professional side of things. They already had the soft skills that they needed to be successful. They needed tangible email management, etiquette, that type of thing in order to be successful. That’s what the heart of it started with. I was big on like, “We’re going after the former or forgotten athletes.” We work with current and elite athletes. We work with the forgotten, the person that was a high school superstar. They didn’t get an opportunity because they got in trouble and they need a second chance to succeed in life. The passion of it was that if you were already elite in an area and have respect from your community and because you didn’t get that opportunity to play at the next level for whatever reason. Now you’re working at MC sports where you have a lot more potential. I believe that you need another coach to come in your life and say, “Your life is not over because your sports career is over.”

We started with doing coaching with that and since has evolved. We’ve been able to serve some military personnel. We have a signature transition framework that we walk our athletes through in a one-on-one setting and a group setting. We help them transition from sports to careers. What I’m excited about in this season is we’re helping people transition from career to legacy. We’re launching a legacy league for people who understand that our lives are meant to impact generations to come. It came from this quote that I love to share. I can’t remember if it was Bob Proctor. I saw that you know him and he endorsed your book. I can’t remember if I heard it from him or someone else, but they said, “The most successful people of all time are those who thought the most about the generation to come.” When I thought about that, I saw how innovation was a product of being forward-thinking. Legacy league is how do we build that legacy that will last beyond us. I’m so excited to be able to share more about that, but that’s our current state. We do that as a membership program. It’s all virtual and get coached by some of the brightest people out there.

Why is that so important to you, Darryll? You hear someone’s passion and energy around this topic. You lit up when we started talking about generations to come.

There are many reasons. Number one, it’s my faith in recognizing that there’s a bigger game to play. Number two, it’s out of respect for my ancestors who made a difference with their lives so that I could live the life that I have now. It’s relevant to our times with all the racial conversations that are happening because I’m in an interracial marriage. A hundred years ago, that would have never been possible in Metro Atlanta without us being attacked, lynched, or something like that. I feel like it’s my way to give back to the people who have gone before me.

Let me ask you this then. How are you doing with everything that’s going on in the world?

I’m doing well. I was built for this. It’s something about adversity. I thrive. I don’t like it when there’s no tension in life. I like the fourth quarter, two seconds left in the game and I’m that guy. People were breaking and I’m like, “This is it. This is what I’m saying. We’re down ten points.” I appreciate and I get being sensitive to people who are being affected and all that. I’m not saying I’m happy about it, but I’m saying it has caused me to thrive as a leader. In true transparency, one of my weaknesses as a leader is I tend to be indecisive at times. I overthink too much, but in crisis, you don’t have the luxury to be indecisive. You have to be decisive. It has forced me to be decisive. “I’ll do this.” “No, we’re not doing that.” It has brought the best out of me. I’m grateful for how this season is being redeemed. It’s causing the giant to come back out. I’m fluid. I’m doing well.

Your life is not over just because your sports career is over. Share on X

What are some of your recommendations? There are a lot of people that are struggling with this.

I’ve done news appearance. I’ve been on Fox News, ABC news. I’ve done a ton of virtual events, offering my perspective. I try to be vocal in my social media platforms. My advice is nothing will frustrate you more like wanting something out of season. Here’s what I mean. There are two ends of the spectrum. There’s a group of people who want this to be over. It’s too dramatic. They don’t want to have to make a decision that could divide their organization. There’s the other group of people who are like, “Now’s the time for a change and let’s not stop having this conversation until the system is dismantled,” and on and on. To both groups of people, for the group that wants to change, it takes time. Be patient.

Being patient doesn’t mean not taking action. It means don’t expect your flowers to bloom in winter. For the group that wants us to go away, I’m saying it’s not going away. Don’t expect that it’s a snow in the middle of summer. It’s summertime. It’s not going away. Have that balanced perspective and then man up and handle it from there. The other thing is I said this on my social media, “If you say the wrong thing, you’re going to get attacked and you might make things worse. If you say the right thing, you might get attacked and make things worse.” Please toughen up, learn, apologize, and say something. When we notice that the conversation topic maybe race, but the goal is always relationship, we have something higher that drives us.

In other words, we don’t let a race topic cause us to divide because we have a higher goal of relationship and keeping that in mind. There’s a great book that I recommend. It’s not on racial reconciliation. It’s a book called Crucial Conversations. It’s all about how to communicate when emotions are high intense. It’s such a phenomenal resource because that’s one of the strategies that they tell you of how to have successful crucial conversations. It’s recognizing what you want the end goal of the relationship to be. Before you say anything on social media or podcasts, before your organization releases a press release, ask yourself this question, “What is the bridge?” What we want to do is say bridge-building statements and not bridge-burning statements.

When you talk about Second Chance, it is all about conversations as well. If something doesn’t work the first time, it’s not like you give up. Let’s have a conversation about why it’s not working. I’m a real big believer in the feedback loop. A part of the conversations is that. It’s the feedback loop. What’s working for me, what’s not working, and what can be done differently? Let’s discuss what could be done differently and do it with an open heart and an open mind. The conversation isn’t so much about the differences. It’s about what we have in common and what is the ultimate goal here? We’re both after the same thing. Maybe some people have different agendas, but the majority of people, we want the same thing. If we can get there together, collectively and collaboratively, then I think it makes it better for everyone.

I’ll say a bold statement. We are going to get through this together. I wholeheartedly believe that there are more that are for unity and reconciliation than there are that against. I don’t think that was always true in our nation’s history. Even from what the media shows, I have the benefit of being in Metro Atlanta where some of the nationally televised protests have been going viral. It’s crazy to see the difference between what happened and what the headlines say happened because one violent knucklehead does not define the entire protest. We have to keep that in mind. Let me also say this because I know you being an athlete and I’m talking to many athletes as well. There’s this big controversy that I’ve been roped into these discussions about athletes and activism. We did a blog post about it, particularly about Drew Brees’ remarks and the whole Colin Kaepernick thing. Let me say this. This would be helpful. I was asked a question if the attack on Drew Brees for his remarks made it worse because athletes are not going to speak up for fear of being attacked. I said, “Yes if we put a period, but we need to stop putting periods where we should be putting commas.” What if we set Drew Brees down with LeBron James who was openly voicing his frustration and his pain by Drew Brees’ remarks.

We did a whole special and I’m talking this through and they were able to have a healing conversation because of a mutual understanding. They recognize that he might’ve said some things that were insensitive, but he’s for us and not against us. We’re on the same team fighting for the same things. We have different beliefs. There was a moment of reconciliation because we put a comma in there and we’re quick to go period, headline, instead of going comma, “Let’s continue this discussion.” I and my wife are in a relationship and we’ve got to put commas all the time. Agree to disagree, pick it up next week. That is how we are going to affect change in our world. Toughen up a little bit emotionally. I say that with a full understanding of how hard it is. I’ve been called nigger more times than I can believe. My last name is a slave name. I’ve been chased down by a white, angry mob. I’ve got many stories that are personal, but we’ve still got to toughen up so that we can hear things that are hurtful, but ultimately in it together.

I agree there’s a level of education that’s required perhaps on both ends. I need a person like Drew Brees to understand my point of view because I was out of it. I was angry when I heard the statement. I didn’t want to talk about it. I was hanging out with him and it was because of all of the emotions that are going on and everything that’s going on. What happened with George Floyd was not an isolated incident. This has been going on. Fortunately, it’s getting a lot of press. A lot of people are moved. There are a lot of protests and changes that have occurred because of it. I haven’t lost sight of all of those people that were killed prior to.

Part of my frustration is the fact that it took this long for people to have that conversation. I get that we can’t go backward. I still want to be forward-thinking, but when I hear a statement like that, I don’t want to see people kneeling. Especially when Kaepernick took the action to kneel years ago. He caught a lot of flack for that. Here we are, protesting over to saying the same thing that he took a very peaceful approach for. That’s very frustrating. If we’re going to have the conversation, then for me, I would need people doing to understand that. I don’t want anything in return, but understand the sensitivity of where we are and how we got here. They have to understand the series of events that have put us here and why we may be feeling a certain way about it. That’s worth recognition.

I’m with you. Let me say this and let’s move on, but it’s such a good picture because that situation is on a micro-level that’s happening on a macro level in our world. Someone asked me in my small group. They said, “How did you feel about all of this?” They wanted to know my emotional reaction. I started talking to him about stuff that we’ve been talking about, relationship is higher than race and all this leadership stuff. They said, “No, I didn’t ask you what was your leadership perspective. I asked you how do you personally feel?” They were coming at me in a way that I wasn’t personalizing this thing or I wasn’t processing it.

GCM 130 | Second Chance

Second Chance: Nothing will frustrate you more like wanting something out of season.


I reflected on that. Am I not processing this and feeling the weight of my emotions? To which I responded that this connects to what you said. What’s crazy was this is my response because as painful as it was to watch the video of George Floyd, it took me two weeks to watch it. I couldn’t stomach it. As painful as it was to see that, it wasn’t a shock to me because it’s something that’s been around for a long time. What’s a shock to me is that people are talking about it. That’s shocking. That’s why my response is more like leadership stuff because it’s like, “Since when are companies releasing statements about systematic racism and commercials coming out?” That has never happened. Unfortunately, that incident is another one that got caught publicly, but there’s a lot of stuff that happens privately that never gets filmed or goes viral. I’m with you. It’s terrible that it’s a long time coming and that Drew Brees made those remarks years later in the midst of all this.

I don’t think it was appropriate. I thought it was super insensitive and that it came from Drew Brees and not from somebody who’s a super white supremacist or something. If anybody should understand, you should for being around teammates and having these conversations. I still believe at the end of the day, he’s on our team and not against us. There’s more than one method of racial reconciliation. He had a personal and moral conviction. He didn’t feel right. Although he was wrong and it was out of context, I have to say even if you don’t kneel with me, are you still taking a stand with me? Do I think he should kneel? I think so because it’s not about that. We know it’s not about disrespecting our nation or our military. If he didn’t, I still need to be mature enough to put a comma there instead of a period because why would I burn a bridge to somebody who can help our community?

I don’t see kneeling as disrespect to our country. What I see disrespectful is the leadership of this country not responding with what’s going on more swiftly and forcefully. I’m thinking about myself. I am a civilian but I was a Navy for many years. I don’t go around shooting with an M16. My life is not on the line, but I do support the guys who put their lives on the line for the country. I’m feeling a certain way about the fact that in this country, black people have been getting killed and there’s slow movement or slow justice. Let’s bring that to an end. There’s recoil for kneeling. The idea is that I’m disrespecting the country, but I feel that’s the opposite. When about the guy that’s in uniform that’s holding that gun in his hand is protecting the country. He’s putting his life on the line. He’s away from his family the majority of the time for the country. I love America, but yet, he goes back to his barracks and he turns on the television and sees what he saw and then the slow movement to bring that to justice.

To me, that’s my personal opinion. That’s where the disrespect lies. If we’re going to talk about respect and correcting that, we need to talk about leadership at the highest level in America. As you’ve been a coach, what do you think there are some things we can do as leaders or as individuals. I get with this adversity comes opportunity. There’s an opportunity in all adversity. What are some of the things that we can do in order to take advantage of the opportunities that exist?

I’m going to tell you what I feel like we should do and what I’ve done. One way to lead is by example. In terms of what we should do, it’s unique to where you are. For instance, you have a show where you can talk about these issues. Not everyone has a show. If I were talking to you directly, I say, “Bring this up as a subject on your show. Talk to some of your diverse group of friends and use your influence to create awareness and to effectuate change.” That’s one area but I can’t say that to everybody. I don’t want everybody to start starting shows. Please don’t do that. Some people seem to be quiet.

I would say you have to ask yourself the question, “What can I do with what I have that’s in my hand?” We need to change at the highest level, but it has to start at the lowest level. It has to start in my home. You can’t advocate for diversity and not be relationally diverse. You cannot do it. I’m black. I’m almost the darkest shade you can get without being African. I grew up in the hood. I’m with it, but let me say something. If we’re going to eliminate racism from white America, we have to eliminate it from black. Let’s not talk about Darryll so that nobody doesn’t get offended. It means that my momma can’t tell me that she wants systematic racism to be dismantled while simultaneously telling me that I can’t marry a white woman.

Do you see the problem? We have to be diverse in our relationship, both ways. That’s important. It starts in our home exposing our kids to a diverse relationship, making sure that we’re relationally diverse, that we have friends of all different types of colors and backgrounds. That’s why I love living in Gwinnett County. It’s one of the most diverse counties in the US. It threw me off when I first got down here because where I’m from, there are white people, black people, and a couple of Native Americans. Down here, it’s a black person, but they’re African or they’re Nigerian. It’s like, “There’s a white person.” They’re white, but they’re Bulgarian or they’re Russian.” I’m like, “You all are speaking different languages. I’d love to start putting on my wife to talk to you.” That’s what I mean, all types of diversity. As far as what we’ve done, number one, we’ve had conversations with people in the room who make us uncomfortable. We have to build a bridge to the relationships that are going to effectuate change. We did this at our church. I’m not a leader and a coach. I’m a pastor, which makes it hard because then people want your faith to be Republican or Democratic.

We brought them into the room. I saw you too. We had a civil discourse and we went back and forth. You can’t use prayer as an excuse not to protest. You can’t say that there isn’t racism even in the church and all this stuff, that Sundays is the most segregated day of the year. We talked about this stuff. We did that. What I love about the conversation is we did it with the adult generation and we also did it with the teenagers. That’s something that we’re not talking about enough. When I say it wasn’t us telling them what to do, it was us listening to how they were processing everything that was going on. We were the students, not them. It was such a powerful experience even for me because one of the things that happened as a result of that conversation is I noticed how desensitized I have become to injustice.

I’ve learned to tolerate stuff that I should have never learned to tolerate because when they started talking about their stories about being followed around the store and being pulled over, even though they weren’t doing anything wrong. My first response was like, “Welcome to the black experience.” Keep going. When you get denied opportunity, work hard. I’ve been able to do that in my life. When I got denied a job application because they saw I was black, I went to 5, 10 different other organizations. I got used to succeeding despite the injustice. I don’t think that that’s normal and I’ve started to take it as normal. Here I am like, “You all man up and toughen up,” when I should be like, “This is not right.” They brought that to my attention and that’s one of the takeaways.

That’s what I’ve been doing. I’m also a part of leadership in Gwinnett, which is our county leadership program here. It’s anybody that makes decisions from a law-based policy base. I’m in conversation with them, our local chamber conversing with them on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. Having these conversations, making, not letting them off the hook, applying the pressure, and then also massively educating myself on when I’m in those rooms, what’s the exact things that I want to change? I don’t want to come and say, “We need justice in America. We need the system to be dismantled,” because that’s not feasible. You know this as a leader, that average leaders bring problems, great leaders bring solutions. I want to bring solutions and it takes some research.

Keep your head in the clouds, your feet on the ground, and maximize every moment. Share on X

I can be educated on what laws on a local level here in Atlanta are creating the problem. What would I have them change about our policy, our procedures, and the distribution of wealth in our community so that we can start to effectuate this change? I’ve been massively educating myself so that when I have the opportunity, I’m not saying, “This is wrong. Everybody needs to stop being racist.” I’m saying, “These people need to be out of power. This is the amount of money we need to put on the other side of town. These are the policies that need to be changed.” I can’t understate that enough because that’s what’s missing from many of these protests, not all. People don’t know what they want.

You can’t come to my church and say, “I want all of the judgmental people to get out of your church.” It’s like, “We can’t do that.” I can preach it, but if I’m doing something in my culture that’s enabling this behavior, then I can address that. We can go to the people in power to say, “We want racism out of America.” We have to talk about how we do that because this thing has taken a long time to build and it’s going to take at least half the amount of time to destroy.

Darryll, why should people connect with you?

It’s because I’m different. I’m not just energetic, I’m intellectual. I’ve got proven history to produce results and change and I can help people. I also have a unique experience that I experienced the full spectrum of human emotion. I know what it’s like to win a MAC championship and beat Michigan State as a MAC team and play with Antonio Brown, number one drafted Eric Fisher, and have the media interviewing you. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re on top of the world. The whole community loves you. Everybody wants you in the media. I know what it’s like to be literally writing my suicide letter and wanting nothing more but to end my life to get out of my pain, feeling like I had no value to offer this world, feeling like nobody can relate or no one cares because they don’t know who I am. It’s that reality that makes me different and unique because some people can say that they value every day. They appreciate life. For me, I tried to end my life multiple times and every breath is a gift to me. I don’t waste moments. When I coach people, I help them not to waste theirs. From a professional level, from a personal level, and from a spiritual level, I don’t believe any moment should be wasted. They say that football is a game of inches. I believe life is a game of inches and I’m trying to help people take advantage of every single inch.

How can people connect with you?

You can go to the website, SecondChanceAthletes.com, especially if you’re in the sports realm. If you’re in the business and professional realm, go to DarryllStinson.com. Of course, follow me on Instagram @StinsonSpeaks. I’m pretty vocal there. I’ve got all types of giveaways and stuff like that. I’ve got a Rejection To Success Guide that you can download from my Darryll Stinson website. It’s good. It’s about how do I take rejection and produce success in my life and unlock multiple streams of revenue. We’ve got some life after sports stuff for athletes as well. Let’s connect.

What is your motto? What standard do you live by?

I gave it to you. That’s my motto. Don’t waste an inch. You’ve got to keep your heads in the cloud, your feet on the ground, and maximize every moment. That is probably my motto.

Thanks for coming on the show. It’s been a wonderful conversation. I love what you’re doing. I love your views about things. It’s not often that you run across people who have been to that dark place in life you may have been through, but when you see that person, you know that they’ve been there. You know that they’ve come out and then they come out with a different attitude and outlook on life. There’s that fire, that burning desire to never go back to that from that moment on to consistently win. I see that in you.

Thank you. You sound like my wife a little bit. I was doing an Instagram Live with Jasmine Milan who owns a PR firm and she attempted suicide multiple times too. My wife said, “You can tell a difference from people who have been there and people who are trying to empathize with being there. It’s so much of a deeper depth.” I recognize what you’re saying. She said that to me. I appreciate that. Let me say that you don’t need some big traumatic story in order to live fulfilled or have this appreciation for life. You can cultivate that through developing an intentional mindset. We have a process to help people with that. Don’t think that you’ve got to have like, “I was a drug addict. I was a paraplegic,” or whatever story to appreciate life on a high level and reach the top 10% or 1% in your industry and leave a legacy. You don’t. You can be coached by people like us to value that in life and to start to produce on that type of level. I say that to everybody. There’s a group of people who don’t get that type of story. “I’m the CEO of the company.” I’m like, “You have a story and whatever your story is, there’s still a bigger game to play. Let’s play it together.”

GCM 130 | Second Chance

Second Chance: You don’t need a big traumatic story in order to have an appreciation for life. You can cultivate that by developing an intentional mindset.


I would say don’t wait for something to happen because a lot of people, unfortunately, it took something to happen in order to develop that intentional mindset. Don’t wait for that. Turn the light on. Do it.

There’s a title right there. Turn the light on right now.

Thanks for coming on the show. This has been a blast.

I appreciate you.

You too.

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About Darryll Stinson

GCM 130 | Second ChanceDarryll Stinson is a thought leader on athletic transition. As a dynamic TEDx speaker, hip-hop artist, pastor and certified John Maxwell coach, he shares his life experience of overcoming addiction, childhood rejection, mental illness, depression, and multiple suicide attempts to produce success in his life.

Darryll played defensive end at Central Michigan University from 2008-2011 where he supported his team as they won a MAC championship became a 23rd nationally ranked team.
Darryll founded Second Chance Athletes, a holistic athletic transition company, in 2017 to help athletes, who are passionate about creating their legacy increase their visibility, impact and revenue.

When he is not working, Darryll enjoys rapping, reading, entertainment, music, sports and spending time with his wife and three beautiful daughters.

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