IT’S HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE
that it was just eighteen months ago that I sat at thelittle café a block from my o
ce with my formerventure partner, James Houghton, as he gingerlyapproached the topic of my memoir—the one forwhich I had been obsessively sending him draftsfor months. He assured me that my honesty movedhim, even to the point of motivating him to write,too. But he had a di
erent, bigger idea than justwriting down my story of crash and redemption asa man, father, and husband. His idea was to createa project where men—black, white, rich, poor, gay,straight, the guy in Iraq, the guy losing his job inDetroit, the stay-at-home dad, and the NFL hall of famer—could tell their stories. James had in mind a simple little book.Unfortunately, where he is humble and understated(perhaps by virtue of having grown up in a famousfamily about which the press often got the storywrong), I am drawn to grandeur and a desire to ﬁndthe truly heroic among us mere mortals. Where James was the spiritual leader who actually hadthe idea, I quickly became the used car salesman of the operation, pushing constantly forward in whatquickly became a call to revolution, man style.What inspired me to believe that our little projectcould be something far bigger than we had initiallythought wasn’t the media obsession with TigerWoods’ sex addiction—though that was a sure signthat something was wrong in Guydom. It wasn’tgoing into Sing Sing, or communicating with NYTphotojournalist Michael Kamber on the battleﬁeldin Iraq, or showing our ﬁlm in Hollywood.No. It was the growing realization that my tritelittle line, “Every man has a story,” was in fact muchtruer than I could ever have imagined. WhereverI went, men took me aside to tell me some littlepiece of their story. Often it wasn’t what had gonewrong but what had gone right—the men whohad changed their lives, or the women with whomthey had fallen in love and married. But often whatI heard was a growing sense of confusion, an o
-the-record admission that, as men, we have no ideawhat is important anymore. We want to do theright thing, but the expectation of us at home andat work has turned things upside down. And all toomany boys grow up without fathers, learning whatit means to be a man on the streets, and way toooften ending up in prison.Listening to other men tell their truth is the onlything that allowed me to get my ass out of the gutterand become a decent man, father, and husband. Themen whom I have met during the Project have eachinspired me to grow in a di
erent way. They are myheroes. What we all need as men isn’t more silentsu
ering; it’s the willingness to tell and listen tothe truth of our lives.