COSTA MESA — Don't ever underestimate the impact that professional sports has on the psyche of the American people, especially those who live and breathe athletics.
The impact of athletes' words on others was the message delivered Tuesday by Leigh Steinberg, the Newport Beach sports agent who partly inspired the
Steinberg spoke at the California Diversity and Inclusion Conference sponsored by the University of Phoenix at the Hilton Orange County.
"This concept of athletes being role models … it's made a difference," said Steinberg, 61, inside the Terrace Fountain room. "Our athletes bleed diversity. They are a living, breathing testimony to diversity. They're not just five talking heads on 'This Week in Washington.' They're real people who live with one another on and off the field and in the locker rooms."
Steinberg, dressed in a red tie and sports jacket, urged the audience of 100 to get involved in fighting racial stereotypes. He urged them to join anti-defamation leagues, saying, "In my view, the most overwhelming issue of our time is people getting along with other people."
touched on some of Jerry Maguire's more famous moments, lending insight into how the now infamous quote uttered by actor
The film's director,
"And Tim said," according to Steinberg, that "he was looking for a team to 'show him respect' and to 'show him love,' and '
Eventually, that's how the phrase, "Show me the money," worked its way into the script — even though it never came out of
But some things depicted in the flick are real, Steinberg said, like Warren Moon's induction into the NFL Hall of Fame, the first black quarterback to earn the distinction.
Steinberg, who has represented Oscar de la Hoya,