Spencer Paysinger Speaks at GCCC for Martin Luther King Day.


Caleb Metzen, Editor

On January 16th, Spencer Paysinger, a linebacker who won the Super Bowl and is now a writer and producer in Hollywood, traveled to Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex to speak to a large GCCC audience on the topic of MLK Day and American intersectionality. Paysinger shared his moving tale of growing up in South Central Los Angeles and playing football at Beverly Hills High in the CW and Netflix blockbuster series All-American. The award-winning program’s creator and key producer, Paysinger, describes it as “a story of being an outsider in two societies.” All-American is a real-life story about making connections and starting conversations between people that may not have had conversations before.

Similar to the “Spencer” character based on his life, Paysinger grew up in South Central LA amid the drugs, gangs, violence, and poverty while having parents who prioritized education and ambition of attending college. He was a talented athlete who participated in four sports but shined in football. He was given a chance to attend the prestigious Beverly Hills High and went on to captain the football team to an undefeated season. Paysinger would then receive a scholarship to attend the University of Oregon, where he also rose to the position of team captain and participated in the team’s first undefeated campaign.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in economics, he started his NFL career with the New York Giants, and he won Super Bowl XLVI in his first season. Paysinger spent seven seasons as a player with the Giants, Dolphins, and Panthers. He retired from football in 2017 to pursue his passion for creating television and film ideas highlighting the Black experience in America. Paysinger is a creative powerhouse and a motivational speaker whose personal journey has already affected millions of viewers.

Jake Wiley, a Communication major, reflects on the purpose of the speech and how it relates to MLK day.
“His point to “start conversations” about black America was really moving during his speech. Wiley said. “It’s a perfect massage for MLK day and brought people together.”Paysinger tells the stories of living as a black American with enlightening insight and perspective.

Keyshawn Buckley, a Communication major, describes the speech as motivational to those from harsh environments to pursue their dreams despite their hardships. “He was really good at using his story to inspire the crowd to peruse their dreams,” Buckley said. “Whether it is playing in  the NFL or any other occupation, Paysinger was great to have at GCCC.”

Throughout the speech, Paysinger frequently incorporated All-American movie clips to address intersectionality and educational opportunity. He does this by framing complicated topics in a relatable and highly personal context. Fans of All American are treated to a first-person account of where the real-life athlete who served as the model for the adored character “Spencer” went after graduating from Beverly Hills High and where all of us can go if given the support on an individual and a community level to pursue our potential and dreams.