We can’t decide if we love or hate Jalen Ramsey. The Alabama football player has been both a victim and a villain of social media, but one thing is certain: the internet loves to hate him.
Ramsey is currently the center of a heated debate online following his recent actions in the field during the championship game against Georgia. While most people are criticizing his blatant fan foul – which even earned him a game suspension – many others are defending his aggressive on-field style, which they claim is what makes him so great.
Here’s a look at why Ramsey wears a ski mask when he plays football, and how it all started.
He Wears A Mask B/C He Believes In Self-expression
According to his mother, Ramsey was born in the ‘90s, which makes him one of the modern-day millennial footballers. These are the players who came of age in the era of social media, and they value self-expression above all else.
“I think the sport evolved to the point where athletes are super-duper expressive, and that’s what drives me,” he told Bleacher Report in 2017. “So when I get out there on the field, I want to be as free as possible and show my personality and what drives me on the field.”
That philosophy extends to other parts of his life, too. When he’s not playing football, Ramsey dons the ski mask to freely express himself. Most people wear a mask in the winter when it’s cold. But it’s not like Ramsey is necessarily showing off his mug, or even hiding his identity. He wears the mask to defy the elements and represent his individuality. He wants football fans and the world to know that this is him, and it’s only him.
“Yeah, I think that’s kind of how I look at it,” he said. “I don’t feel like I necessarily have to hide my identity. I mean, if you look at my Twitter, you’ll know who I am. People can decide for themselves what I represent.”
He Wears A Mask B/C He Values Provoking Fans
It seems that Ramsey values provoking his fans. When he tweeted that he was going to suspend his game against LSU in October 2017 because the fans in Baton Rouge “disrespected” him, the Alabama quarterback drew outrage and got banned from all LSU football games.
This was a calculated move on Ramsey’s part. He knew that he was likely to face backlash from LSU fans, which is ironic considering how much he prides himself on being “One Of The Best At Proving People Wrong.”
One of Ramsey’s favorite topics to tweet about is his desire to prove people wrong. Many of his followers take great pride in annoying the star quarterback. It’s almost as if they’ve adopted the persona of “The Hatemonger.”
“Jalen is very passionate about his team, his school, and the University of Alabama. I think that comes from his upbringing and his being from Alabama,” Jimmy Sexton, an Alabama assistant coach, told the New York Times. “I don’t think he sees himself as a bad person or a mean person. It’s just that he believes in being himself. Sometimes people don’t appreciate that.”
We can’t decide if this is an admirable or despicable quality in a football player. It really depends on your perspective. For the record, Ramsey has been suspended for a total of four games during his Alabama career, twice for targeting and twice for disputing a call on the field. He’s won two games in his career as a starter, with one of them being against SEC rival Vanderbilt.
He Wears A Mask B/C He Is Conscious Of His Body Language
Ramsey is aware of his body language, and he’s probably practiced using it often. This is something he’s worked hard on since his days at Florida State, where he was an FSU-themed talk show caller for ESPN. When he calls games for the Worldwide Leader, he wants to make sure he projects confidence even when he’s feeling nervous – something that comes naturally to him.
“Some guys might be too afraid to show that nervousness on the field. That’s something I’ve been working on, trying to just be as natural as possible,” he said. “Just do what I do. That’s what makes me more comfortable out there.”
This is why the football world fell in love with Ramsey in the first place. Even when he was a young boy, people knew that he would one day play for the Crimson Tide. Because he came from such a prestigious football program, people always knew that he would be confident and never show fear.
When Ramsey is on the field, you can usually tell by his body language whether he’s going to give you a good game or a bad game. If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: don’t be afraid to stand up to Ramsey if you feel that he’s acting inappropriately. That’s what ultimately drives him to behave better than most professional athletes. A fight with Ramsey is usually a good fight. It means you’re defending your friends and family – people who matter the most to you. Don’t back down. Stand your ground.
He Wears A Mask B/C He Wants To Inspire Courage In Others
Ramsey is known for being one of the most vocal leaders on his team. During pregame warm-ups, he’ll often yell out encouragement to his teammates. After the SEC Championship game against Georgia, he tweeted that he was proud of his players for sticking up for “the little guy” and for “having some s***ty fans yell at you for cheering for something that you believe in.”
Even when he’s behind the mask, Ramsey displays a lot of courage himself. When he tweeted about how excited he was to see the “New York attitude” in the SEC Championship game against Georgia, he was referring to the fact that both he and his teammate, Calvin Ridley, grew up in Harlem, New York.
“I think growing up in New York, you’re exposed to so many different types of people and so many different ways of thinking that it makes you a little more open-minded. Which is great when you come from a small town in Alabama where nobody really knows what you want to do in life,” Ramsey said.
This is probably why Ramsey wears a mask. He doesn’t want the world to see him as a victim of circumstance. Instead, he wants the world to see him as a confident, courageous leader who happens to play football. And he’ll continue to wear the mask until the day he decides to don the pads himself and lead the Crimson Tide onto the football field.