Cornell Quarterback Shares Story of Overcoming Adversity through NIL Deal
CORNELL, N.Y. (WENY) - Cornell quarterback Jameson Wang signed a NIL deal with Degree's "Breaking Limits" campaign to share how he has overcome adversity as an Asian football player.
"Breaking Limits" is the industry's first NIL initiative, and aims to give athletes a platform to share their stories of overcoming adversity to help inspire others to break their own limits. Degree was inspired by Wang's experiences and reached out to him via an Instagram direct message, asking if he was interested in joining the team.
"I was really interested once I saw the DM," Wang said. "Their proposal was something that I really saw myself fitting in with. It was a deal that benefits both sides, with Degree letting me use their platform to tell my story."
Wang's father immigrated to Rochester when he was five years old. His family opened a Chinese restaurant, and while Wang's father had dreams of playing high school football, his family was not supportive.
"When I was born," Wang said, "He really wanted to push me and give me the opportunity that he didn't really get when he was growing up to play football in America. He was my coach all the way up to eighth grade and he pushed me really hard to be the football player I am today."
It wasn't until when Wang reached the high school level that he really began to experience racism and discrimination on the field.
"One game, I was running out of bounds," Wang recalled. "There were these kids suited up, not playing, but they just started talking. One of the kids said, 'how do you even see on the field?' It's stuff like that where you can't let it get to you in the game, but it's like, wow these kids are really trying to say anything to get under your skin."
Despite such instances, Wang had an outstanding high school career. He was a four-year varsity starter and set five single-season school records. In his first year at Cornell, Wang was just the second freshman in Big Red History to lead the team in rushing with 349 yards.
Wang will share his breaking limits story on Instagram Live on Tuesday with the hopes of inspiring younger players.
"You don't see many Asian-American football players, let alone quarterbacks," Wang said. "So, to shine some more light on the Asian community and what they can do in football is great."