Talanoa Hufanga, Keith Ismael Highlight Importance of AAPI Representation in NFL

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What are some values that you inherited from your culture that you rely on in your daily life and on the football field?

Hufanga: “Respect is the number one thing that I rely on. My family, my pops, they made sure that that was at the forefront for our family and the understanding that when you have respect for people, for your elders, you can do a lot of things right.”

Ismael: “Definitely discipline and humility. Our cultures are big on, discipline, respect, humility and hard work. It’s integrated into our daily lives in every aspect. Learning those core values and having them imprinted to me from a very young age, it just carried on to the football field. It became second nature.”

What’s the AAPI brotherhood like in the NFL?

Hufanga: “The brotherhood in the NFL, specifically the Polynesian players, has been incredible. It’s something that not a lot of cultures understand, but it’s almost like you have a brother on the other team regardless of the situation, regardless of the plays during the game, you’re going to hug after the game and understand how deeply rooted we are together. There’s not that many of us out there, so we want to stick together and be as close as possible to represent our culture in the best way possible.”

Ismael: “It’s strong, no matter what game it is or where you’re at, we usually try to find each other before or after the game. We usually know when we’re playing each other, even before. It’s a proud group, there’s not many of us. It’s an honor to represent us no matter what. As a collective, it’s important that we just show the younger generation that they can make it too.”

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