Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, recalls the exact moment he knew autograph-seeking was out of control. He was hounded during a trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s with his daughter, Amyia. She wanted to play basketball, but some of the patrons overwhelmed her football-playing dad.
I do try to sign as much as I can. The fans and everything, they help pay our paychecks, so anytime that I get an opportunity to sign things, I’ll just be a professional and sign it.
A lot of the times it’s fun. Sometimes it’s not, but you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.
When I’m at Chuck E. Cheese’s with my kids, it has gone wrong a couple of times. My daughter is kind of a daddy’s girl. When people come and approach me, she wants me to help her shoot basketballs or roll the ball down (the alley). It’s kind of frustrating because they want an autograph and sometimes a picture. She’s like, “No, Daddy. I want to shoot the ball.” It has been difficult in that situation, but other than that, when I’m not with the kids, it’s all good.
It’s never a problem at dinner because I only go to the restaurants where I can sit in the back and have some privacy.
You can tell if you’re signing for the kids or for the people trying to make money. If they give you the big blank white sheets of paper that they want you to sign your autograph on, those are the guys trying to sell it online. The kids just bring anything for you to sign. That’s just what it is.
The weirdest thing that I ever signed was a baseball bat. I don’t play baseball. But I signed it anyway.
I think people collect autographs, hopefully because if guys make the Hall of Fame they’ll become valuable. There have been times when kids will come up and they might have gotten Tony Gonzalez’ autograph when he was a rookie. Now, he’s going to the Hall of Fame, and it’s probably going to be worth a lot of money. Things like that. People relish those moments and like being able to take pictures with you and things like that. It’s evidence that they can actually touch, feel and interact with you.
As told to staff writer D. Orlando Ledbetter