MILWAUKEE - The state of Wisconsin has seen several of its favorite sports figures elected for the hall of fame during 2022, and this week FOX6 will be catching up with some of them.
Tim Van Vooren kicks things off with the inventor of the Lambeau Leap, former Packers safety LeRoy Butler, who is getting ready for one of the biggest weekends of his life.
We go Beyond the Game during Hall of Fame Week.
Tim Van Vooren: "How comfortable are you being you, LeRoy Butler?"
LeRoy Butler: "You know, Tim, that's a good question because a lot of people think it's fake. They said, this guy can't be this happy. I went to do my bust for the Hall of Fame. He said, I looked all over the internet and I only saw like five pictures of you not smiling. I just said I am who I am and that's where I kind of get into the people who shaped my thinking, and where I came from. It comes from my mom and my grandparents.
My grandmother told me that God gave everybody a talent, so I am in the projects. We have little or no money, literally my mom was working three jobs, raising five kids on her own, no air conditioning and I said, "Grandma, what's my talent? If you say God made it fair for everybody, I am looking at myself like, did he miss me?" She said, "No, you have a unique ability to ignore anything negative.""
TVV: "So now has your life changed, LeRoy? You waited a long time, you knew who you were, how you played, people loved you, but there's a distinction, a significance to being called a Pro Football Hall of Famer. Has your life changed since you were selected?"
Butler: "Yes, I will say how it has changed. For my wife, who's from Milwaukee. When I met Genesis, she didn't know who I was Tim, so she had to learn about LeRoy Butler as a man and as a player and as a Dad. And we have a son together, LeRoy Butler IV. We have a very blended family because I had four kids, she had two. It changed for them. Because everywhere they go, they're asked about it. I chose her to be my presenter, her and Gilbert Brown. I kind of know what he's going to talk about and you guys are going to enjoy it. He was great, but I had to have my wife to represent all of my family and my teammate to represent all of my coaches and teammates. What really made me very emotional because I thought about my mom and my grandparents, and all the people, all the teachers and all that. But there's only 362 guys in the Hall of Fame. And I think it's like 180 living. But you think about they and you're in elite company. Now I remember my mom saying, if it happens, remember about the two speeches. Don't forget about the people who helped you. 'Cause my Mom, I am giving away my speech a little bit because you're my guy, just a little bit, I will give you something that's in there. In the LeRoy Butler story, my mom and me always said I should be in the story but not the headline. Because some people see headlines, and they don't read the story. But the headline should be teachers, parents, if you have a special needs kid, firemen, military. Both of my brothers were in the military. They never get the headlines, but this platform helps me give them the headline."
TVV: "Would you do it any other way, LeRoy?"
Butler: "Ooooh, that's a tough question."
TVV: "You grew up in poverty, grew up with tough stuff. You went to a team that didn't win a lot in an entirely different climate. You had to wait a long time to get to the Hall of Fame."
Butler: "Man, that's a good question. I'm going to say no because I think it worked out the way I wanted it to Tim. And I was telling this to one of my friends. We've been friends for 50 years, and we just talked about that. What would we change in our life? And he said what would we change? What would we change? And we said what about Miss Brown's class? What about if we could go do this? What about if we could not go to Florida State? What if we could go to LSU? What if we were boxers or what if we were and then we both said, we wouldn't change a thing. Because I think it shaped who we are as men. We said our life happened the same way that God wanted it to happen because he knew that we would tell our story."
Butler will be telling his story on stage in Canton, Ohio this Saturday when he is inducted into football's shrine of legends.
FOX6 Hall of Fame Week continues on FOX6 News at 9 Tuesday when Tim Van Vooren talks with former Bucks coach Del Harris.