If you’re a Saginaw native you’ve probably heard the name Deshawn Hayes. Not long ago he was high school football royalty and the NFL appeared to be a realistic possibility. Life went in a different direction for Deshawn, now the father of two, he currently works on Shop with Hayes his fashion consulting brand and is starring in the feature length film Plastic. We discuss how football shaped him as a person.
“Look, this is me. This is who I am and I’m not gonna change. We are who we are. We’ve got the ability to do good or bad on this earth. And I think, for me, I’m gonna try to do as much good as I can, try to spread as much good energy as I can, and try to carry the people along with me.”
Deshawn talks about using drugs for a time after he stepped away from football and tells us about the impact other peoples drug use has had on him. He opens up about losing a teammate to addiction and the weight it left on him.
“I had a buddy, I played football with a shout out to him, he passed probably one of my greatest friends he was a lineman. He was six five, like 300 plus pounds and you’re looking at him, and it’s like, “how do you have an addiction bro?” You look at somebody that big and that powerful it’s like, bro, God made you to play ball man and nothing else. When I look at you, you don’t have a weakness to me. You protect me, I run behind you, you’re the best lineman I’ve ever had… When we was (using) he was accusing me of the craziest stuff possible. I’m like, “bro I’m your homie,” we take trips together. But he was just losing it, you know. So my way (of handling it) I just shut them out, so I still carried that weight with me. We’re grown men and you can’t carry another grown person but it’s like as a good friend, I felt like I didn’t check up on him. I knew he was dealing with stuff. It’s like somebody that big, that powerful, you’re just like, oh man, it’s just a faze. We talked about going to league and doing NFL tryouts, CFL tryouts. I think that’s where we all get caught up in is we all just figure it’s a faze.”
We discuss addiction from our perspective growing up in Saginaw, as a whole in society, and Deshawn shares his thoughts on OD.
“I think that it’s great for the city a sheds light on a really big problem that I think we all kind of grew up with but we all swept it under the rug. We all had a friend, a buddy, a family member we all knew someone or have someone close to us that had addiction or had a problem. So the fact that it’s a clothing line and everyone’s really into what’s the next biggest thing.”