But now, two players from the Oklahoma football team have given these disadvantaged tribal communities a reason to cheer each Saturday. That's because quarterback Sam Bradford and long snapper Derek Shaw, both of American Indian descent, have developed into reliable contributors for the No. 5 Sooners.
Bradford is a descendant of the Cherokee tribe and Shaw is a member of the Osage and Ponca tribes. They have cheerfully embraced their roles as ambassadors of the underrepresented Native American community and wish to set a precedent for others counterparts.
"Around here, Native American people don't have role models, per se, to look up to from their own race or their own tribe," Shaw said. "So at first, it was kind of overwhelming, but the older I got the more I accepted the role. As far as me and Sam go, I think we are trying to be a real inspiration to them and show them they can do whatever they want to do."
So far, they have both proved to be exemplary role models on the field.
For more on the subject, see Jocks Aren't Good Role Models.