UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
SI Wire

Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand to speak at school's commencement

Eric LeGrand Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand had his No. 52 retired by the school last year. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Former Rutgers University football player Eric LeGrand will speak at the school's commencement ceremony, according to a statement by Rutgers president Robert L. Barchi. The statement was released after LeGrand said earlier that the school withdrew its offer for him to speak at the ceremony.

LeGrand was paralyzed in 2010 after making a head-first tackle in a game against Army at MetLife Stadium. He earned his degree in labor studies from the school earlier this year. The original commencement speaker, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, bowed out after protests related to her role in former President George W. Bush's administration.

LeGrand told USA Today he was at dinner last weekend when he received at a call from Gregory Jackson, chief of staff for Barchi, asking him to speak at the May 18 commencement. Two days later, Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann reportedly withdrew the offer “for political reasons.” LeGrand said he was not given any other reason for the school's decision to go in another direction.

"I was just going to tell them my story, about the whole process," LeGrand said, via USA Today. "Starting in 2005, being recruited by Rutgers and what it meant to me to play here and go to school here. And then the way everybody supported me through my injury, I was just going to give inspirational words about how they should attack life. All the things I've learned so far. All the (graduates), they're my age so I was going to try to (say) words they could remember, words that would inspire them to do great things in life."

"I'm very upset about it," LeGrand said. "I was all excited all weekend thinking about what I was going to say. It's rough."

According to the president's statement, however, LeGrand will be one of several speakers at the commencement ceremony. According to the USA Today report, former New Jersey governor Thomas Kean will be the keynote speaker.

NIESEN: After becoming paralyzed, Devon Walker shows will, grit in fight of life

More SI Wire

Close

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 4 easy steps:

  1. Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Bookmarks.
  3. Select Bookmark manager.
  4. Locate your current Sports Illustrated bookmark, click the Organize menu, then select Edit. You can now easily update the web address of your Sports Illustrated bookmark.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 2 easy steps:

  1. Click the Safari bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. This will open the Bookmarks Bar. In the Bookmarks Bar, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Address field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Click the Firefox bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Show All Bookmarks.
  3. This will open the library window. In the Library window, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Location field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.
Don't Show This Again