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Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL, File

Patrick Kinahan: Strong family made the difference for former BYU linebacker Kehl

By Patrick Kinahan, Contributor | Posted - Jun. 17, 2020 at 10:14 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Through all the upheaval that has rocked the nation recently, prompting widespread protests and some destruction, the goal is change for the better.

The question remains as to the best route to get there. Is it through the federal and local government or the private sector?

Answers include all of the above, ultimately requiring individual buy in. As the country celebrates Father’s Day this Sunday, five weeks after Mother’s Day, looking inward could go a long way toward making the world a better place.

Although not even close to being foolproof, a strong home can make a difference. Just ask former BYU and NFL linebacker Bryan Kehl.

Always approachable and quotable as a player, Kehl has continued to speak his mind long after retiring from the NFL. During an interview with The Zone Sports Network, he spoke on a variety of topics that have dominated news cycles over the last several weeks triggered by the death of George Floyd literally at the knee of a Minnesota police officer.

Kehl has a somewhat uncommon story, born to a white mother and black father 36 years ago. He was placed for adoption, joining the family of Gary and Nancy Kehl, who would go on to adopt a total of six children in addition to having three.

Looking back, Kehl appreciates his good fortune. Describing his adoptive parents, he took honoring his mother and father to a high level.

“First and foremost, I was blessed to have the greatest parents that any kid could hope or wish to dream to have. Gary and Nancy Kehl are special people,” he said. “The first key to my success was parents who genuinely treated me and loved me, and all of my adopted siblings, no different than the three natural kids that they birthed and parented. There was no difference in our treatment.

“From the jump, that was the biggest building block to success is the way they treated me and treated my siblings. On top of that, it’s just me, personally, having an understanding mind and just a positive and optimistic outlook on it. I understand not everyone is blessed with that situation and the fortune that I had to come to a good home. There’s very mixed results in terms of the home and the structure and support and the love that is offered.”

Barely taking a breath, Kehl continued to speak his mind on a subject close to his heart.

“My parents had the highest expectations of us and they gave us the resources to succeed,” he said. “They were disciplined for us; we were accountable for our mistakes. They expected a lot of us and when we fell short of those expectations they let us know and there were consequences.

“I understand there’s a lot of different situations I could have ended up in. I have empathy for those kids that don’t have the luck and good fortune that I have.”

There you have it, the home and the individual in this case made a difference. This is not to suggest the cold reality of discrimination and prejudice doesn’t exist and often is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

At many levels, change is necessary. At the same time, Kehl points out the good that exists in this country despite all of its shortcomings that, he said, the media is always quick to point out.

“America is not even close to perfect. Of course, not,” he said. “But it is the single greatest country in the history of the world, and if you don’t recognize that you are either ignorant or blind or obtuse or a combination of all of them. It doesn’t matter what metric you want to use.”

Agree or not, credit Kehl for staying true to his convictions.

Patrick Kinahan

About the Author: Patrick Kinahan

Patrick is a radio host for 97.5/1280 The Zone and the Zone Sports Network. He, along with David James, are on the air Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Patrick Kinahan

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