PHOENIX — Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely has a passion outside of the game that thrills him nearly as much — politics.
Feely was a guest speaker at the State of the State address Monday and said he’s involved in local politics because he wants to make a difference.
“I’m engaged in our community. I care about my kids. I care about the direction of our country and our state,” Feely said. “All of those things lead me to want to be involved in the political process and try to make it better.”
Feely’s speech steered clear of party lines and focused on trying to motivate people to do the right things in life.
He said his experience in the game of football provides two major parallels to the world of politics.
“Being committed to a cause that’s greater than yourself, and not fearing failure,” Feely said, “I think to reach your full potential you have to do both of those things.
“Being committed to a cause allows you to work harder. To do the difficult thing and put selfish ambition aside and most of the time do the right thing,” he said.
Feely said he wasn’t able to reach his potential on the football field until he got past his fears. He said that’s something many politicians need to learn to do when they’re torn between their beliefs and their party’s viewpoint.
“You can’t reach your full potential until you don’t fear failure. Until you go into those critical moments and you’re able to just focus on that moment and the process that’s going to help you achieve your goals rather than worrying about the implications about what you’re doing.”
Feely is active in social media on many topics, including politics. He said it’s a good platform for important discussions.
“I like to be real. I like people to know what I believe,” Feely said. “You can disagree and do it in a respectful manner, although that doesn’t lend itself to Twitter too well sometimes.”
Feely hopes those online discussions can help inspire people to sit down with family members, friends and coworkers and have conversations about important topics.
“You can sit down with someone who you completely disagree with philosophically and have an honest discussion and keep that discourse civil. That’s something we need to work on, and that’s how you get things done in life.”
Feely isn’t a stranger to discussing politics before a big audience. He’s been a guest on many of KTAR’s talk shows, and spoke at a Republican leadership conference before the last presidential election.
When asked if he would consider running for public office after his football career was over, Feely answered like a true politician.
“I’m not even concerned about getting into local politics; I’m mostly concerned about trying to better our communities however I can.”