By ROGER MILLS
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000
From being a black man in Canada, to Vanderbilt football, to fatherhood and Christianity, to groupies, Bucs strongside linebacker Shelton Quarles, 29, shares some personal insights.
RM: What was it like playing in the CFL?
SQ: It was fun. When I first got up there, I didn't know what to expect, and then when I actually got a chance to play a little bit, it was great. The field was wider, there was a lot more running, a lot more special teams, which is different from the NFL. In the CFL, a lot of it is special teams.
RM: What were your impressions of living in Vancouver, British Columbia?
SQ: It was great. The people there were some of the most congenial, well-behaved people I've ever met. Definitely. You know, there weren't many black people up there and that was weird, but for the most part, there was absolutely no racism. None. When you met people they invited you for dinner and things like that, and it wasn't because you were a football player but because they were genuinely nice people.
RM: How come Vanderbilt gets better defensive players than offensive players?
SQ: I think it's because of the way (coach) Woody (Widenhofer) runs the system up there. The best thing to have in his system are great defenders and linebackers and that's what he gets. A lot of guys like playing in that scheme he has. I think he just gets good defensive players because of his scheme. He's well-respected. It's like at Florida, they are known for their offensive talent so they always bring in top receivers.
RM: Six weeks ago your first child, Gabriela Nicole, was born; tell us about her.
SQ: It's awesome. It's fun to go home and have her there. I usually just go home, scoop her up and lay on the couch with her and put her on my chest. We just lay there on the couch. For some reason, she always likes to lay on my chest to go to sleep. It's awesome.
RM: Did you want a son?
SQ: I wanted a girl. I was an only child and didn't have any sisters and I really didn't care about brothers. It's funny, all the dogs I ever had were all girls. And I always had the idea of my girl being a daddy's girl.
RM: Want more children?
SQ: I don't want any more because I was an only child and I wanted her to be an only child. But, my wife wants four or five if she could. We might have one more.
RM: Do you have any concerns about being a father?
SQ: Right now, I want to be the best father that I can be. I don't want to do anything that will hurt the baby. It's important to me to do whatever I can for her to be what she wants to be. I always want to be here for her. I want her to be able to come to me with any kind of problem."
RM: Death penalty?
SQ: It just depends on what the crime is. I'm for it if it's something brutal. If somebody killed somebody and they did it maliciously and cut their head off and hands off and shoved them in a bag, then I'm all for it. That person doesn't deserve to live and cost America all that money to keep them in a cell.
RM: American troops on foreign soil?
SQ: I'm in favor of it if that nation doesn't have any military and they don't have a democracy and want to restore it, then I'm all for it. If we can get our troops in and we think we can be effective of getting the job done, fine. If they don't care for us to be there, I wouldn't send our troops."
RM: Hate crimes?
SQ: I think the penalties should be severe. Everyone was put on earth for a reason. It's not Christian to be that way.
RM: Same-sex marriages?
SQ: I'm definitely against that. If the Bible is against that, then I'm against it.
RM: So, you're a pretty devout Christian?
RM: Is it hard to be a Christian football player?
SQ: I think it's easier today, especially in an environment that we are in with Christian coaches. But Christianity has lost some of its power. A lot of people say they are Christian but are not really Christian.
RM: God created man with free will, right?
RM: Did the apostle Judas have free will?
SQ: Hmm. To an extent I would say that he didn't. Everybody on Earth has a purpose and his purpose was to point Christ out. In a sense he did, in a sense he didn't.
RM: Since God created everything, where did evil come from?
SQ: I don't know. ... I can't answer that.
RM: Did Eugene Robinson's arrest on solicitation charges embarrass you?
SQ: I think so. Anybody who's in a position that we are, who say they're a Christian and do otherwise, it only hurts other Christians.
RM: A lot of people were quick to judge him; were you?
SQ: Not really. I'm not in a position to judge other men. I try not to judge anybody. Do not judge, or you will be judged.
RM: Is it true that pro athletes have a hard time resisting groupies?
SQ: In Canada, if you're black and you look halfway decent, then every girl up there wants you. It's hard for you to say no when you have so many people pulling at you. I was there. It's the way it was. A lot of people who get up there won't even leave. I'm pretty sure, if you go to a club and they know you play ball you can get your fair share. But, I don't go to clubs saying "I'm Shelton Quarles.' You would see different girls everywhere you go and then, after a while, you realize that they are groupies. They exist.
RM: Are they hard to resist?
SQ: It's not hard. I try not to hang around places where there will be temptations.
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