“I’m a Real Football Player!”: YouTuber ‘Deestroying’ Celebrates Kickstarting UFL Career Years After NCAA Controversy

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Seven years ago, it seemed like we would never see Deestroying play football again. The college player’s YouTube channel landed him in a tight spot when the NCAA gave him an ultimatum to choose between the sport and his content-creating career, as per their clause at the time. In what was deemed as a questionable decision, Donald De La Haye chose his YouTube journey as Deestroying over football.
After a tough period off-field, the punter finally got his spot in Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s UFL and is finally on the road to achieving his football dream. As for his online career, his YouTube channel has amassed 5.8 million followers and has gained a loyal fanbase throughout the years. As he makes his national debut, albeit a little late, La Haye couldn’t help but gush with excitement.
Deestroying finally feels like a “real football player“
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The punter from the University of Central Florida faced a tough choice when he started his own YouTube channel in 2015 under the name “Deestroying.” The NCAA’s controversial policy didn’t allow college athletes to earn money using their name, image, and likeness (NIL). Though the policy was changed in 2021, La Hay was given an “ultimatum.” He made the unpopular decision to pursue his career on YouTube over football, which induced mixed reactions.
While La Hay’s content business flourished, his desire to play football professionally remained unfulfilled. Finally, he got his first stint in 2019 with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian league, but he hardly got any on-field action. With the NCAA revising the rule, La Hay finally enters the professional football arena with renewed hopes and aspirations.
As the starting kicker of the San Antonio Brahma, La Haye was asked about his feelings after the long-awaited debut. He candidly expressed his excitement after playing his first UFL game and revealed that he was waiting for a field goal. “Man, I feel amazing. The juice is in the building, man. I hit the ball well for my first kickoff. Waiting for my first field goal man and send it through the uprights.”
Deestroying further shared about how he finally feels like “a real football player” now, and his new personal routine is a testament to that. “I don’t just go out to the field and film videos, so changed a lot. I gotta get up, practice, take care of my body.” The punter starts a new leg of his career with hopes of an eventual entry to the big league. However, the road leading up to his decision was a public affair, with people everywhere weighing in with their opinions.
What was the reaction when La Haye quit football?
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When the college-going La Haye opened his YouTube channel in 2015, he would have never realized how big the stakes would rise in the coming few years. On his UFL recruitment being finalized, the relief was great, but the road hasn’t been a bed of roses for the former college player. Many termed his decision to follow the path of content creation as “crazy”. The placekicker has previously shared that while his teammates from college supported him in his bold move, understanding the unfairness of the NCAA rule, others had a less than a favorable opinion about the subject.
“My teammates were like, ‘Go get your bag, bro. We are out here struggling, doing all this work, and we’re not getting paid. We’re proud of you. S–t you’re lucky you’re getting out,” La Haye said, as per the New York Post. “They were talking about [the NCAA] like it was jail.”
People in his personal life had a harsher stand, not understanding the potential of his YouTube persona, and considering football as a more stable career choice. “Even parents’ coworkers would be like, ‘Is your son stupid? He just gave up a full scholarship for a YouTube channel?’ I would have all these people DMing me [on social media] saying, excuse my language, ‘You’re a f–king idiot.’ All types of crazy stuff.”
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It took a long time of voicing out, protesting, and legal cases to take down the NCAA rule, and it was players like La Haye who dared enough to speak up against the system that actually catalyzed the change. With his return to his beloved sport and his YouTube career having paid off, the San Antonio Brahma kicking starter is hopeful about his future.
Read This: YouTuber ‘Deestroying’ Confidently Plays Down Antonio Brown While Claiming to Be a Better Boxer on Tyreek Hill’s Podcast

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