J.J. Watt planned to wing short commencement speech so Wisconsin grads could get to drinking beer

Yahoo Sports

Russell Wilson delivered a considered, 18-minute speech to Wisconsin graduates when invited to speak at the school’s commencement ceremony in 2016.

This year, the school invited another prominent former Badger athlete to speak at graduation, J.J. Watt.

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He’s taken a slightly less meticulous approach to his day at the dais than his Badger counterpart.

Watt planned to wing it

The Houston Texans defensive end who played two seasons at Wisconsin told ESPN that he had planned to take the stage for the May 11 ceremony without a plan — or a speech. That is, until a school representative asked for a copy of his speech ahead of time.

“I said, 'What do you mean?’” Watt told ESPN. “‘I don't write speeches. I'm just going to go up there and talk.’ That was my full plan. I did not know that you had to write it all out. I'm dead serious. I didn't know.

“He was like, 'They have a teleprompter for you. What do you want on it?’”

Wisconsin said no

Watt said that he didn’t want anything on the teleprompter before realizing that wasn’t going to be an option.

"I said, 'Nothing. Just give me a black screen and tell me when to stop talking.' That was literally my plan,” Watt said. “But I found out you have to write some stuff down. So I have about a month to figure it out."

Told to write a speech, J.J. Watt plans to keep things short and sweet so grads can party. (AP)
Told to write a speech, J.J. Watt plans to keep things short and sweet so grads can party. (AP)

Watt keeping it short so grads can go party

While it’s not surprising that the university would want to know ahead of time the content of a public speech to be delivered with cameras watching, it doesn’t sound like Watt’s plan is to put a whole lot of thought into it.

"I have some things I want to get across,” Watt said. “But let's be honest: They just want to go drink beer afterwards. They're excited. I know how commencements go. They just want the person to give a cool message for about five minutes and then get off the stage."

Watt has a point. Commencement ceremonies tend to be notoriously long and droning, especially at a big school like Wisconsin. Nobody likes a stage hog on a day celebrating their significant life accomplishment.

But maybe Watt should consider putting in a little more effort than he has planned.

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