The story behind Drew Brees' birthmark, and why he'll never get it removed

Drew Brees doesn't look like your typical NFL quarterback.

He's listed at a generous 6 feet tall, 209 pounds, while the average height of a pro quarterback is more like 6'3".

He also has a pretty big birthmark placed prominently over his right cheek.


Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images.

There it is. Clear as day.

Still, it can be hard for people to wrap their heads around a celebrity having such a glaringly obvious "imperfection." The first time Oprah met Drew in person, she thought his birthmark was a lipstick smudge and tried to wipe it off.

AWKWARD! GIF from "Oprah."

Drew has been selected to nine Pro Bowls, led the league in passing yards five times, and, of course, was named MVP of Super Bowl XLIV in 2010.

Before he was a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, though, he was just a kid who got made fun of for being different.

"Because of my birthmark, which I was obviously born with, I got all kinds of comments when I was a kid, about 'Wipe that whatever off your face.' ... All kinds of names. People would call me 'Spot,'" Drew told CNN.

"I think they were trying to be malicious. They were trying to be hurtful."

When he grew up and found his way to fame and fortune, he had a choice: have the birthmark removed or use it to send a message.

Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Drew Brees has, to put it bluntly ... a lot of freaking money. He's currently in year four of a five-year, $100 million deal and will likely cash in again with an even bigger contract before his career comes to an end.

There's no question he could pay for the plastic surgery to have that birthmark removed for good and have plenty of money leftover to enjoy his recovery in a five-star resort on Neptune, if he wanted.

But for Drew, this option never even crossed his mind.

In his book, "Coming Back Stronger," he writes: "Instead of seeing it as a bad thing, I chose to see it as something that made me unique and special. It set me apart from everyone else. ... Now it's just a part of who I am. I wouldn't consider cutting off my arm. Neither would I cut off my birthmark."

As his career blossomed, Drew began using his platform to tell kids like him that they don't need to be ashamed of who they are.

"There's lots of kids that may have something that somebody is going to make fun of. Their name, the way they look, the way they talk, the way they laugh. And it's so unfair, but it's reality," he said during his interview with CNN.

And in 2010, he teamed up with the It Gets Better movement to put out a message.

"Making fun of someone because they're different from you? That's not being tough, it's being ignorant," he said. "I want my fans to know that if you're making fun of someone ... then you are no friend of mine."

Now fans go to Saints games with fake birthmarks — sometimes stickers, sometimes temporary tattoos, sometimes eye black — on their faces to show their quarterback some love.

Photo courtesy of David/All Southern Livery.

Life is pretty good as one of the NFL's top players. But every time Drew takes the field, he's showing kids all over the world that being different is good — and not only will it not hold you back from achieving whatever you want, it might even help you get there.

And as for whether he'll ever change his mind and have the mark removed?

He told TMZ, "As long as there's no health issues with it, then it stays."

Right on, Drew. Right on.

Here's Drew on CNN talking about the birthmark, dealing with his bullies, and how he used it as motivation to become great:

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

via Ken Lund / Flickr

The dark mountains that overlook Provo, Utah were illuminated by a beautiful rainbow-colored "Y" on Thursday night just before 8 pm. The 380-foot-tall "Y" overlooks the campus of Brigham Young University, a private college owned by the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), commonly known as Mormons.

The display was planned by a group of around 40 LGBT students to mark the one-year anniversary of the university sending out a letter clarifying its stance on homosexual behavior.

"One change to the Honor Code language that has raised questions was the removal of a section on 'Homosexual Behavior.' The moral standards of the Church did not change with the recent release of the General Handbook or the updated Honor Code, " the school's statement read.

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True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

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Public Domain

A very simple thing happened earlier this week. Dr. Seuss Enterprises—the company that runs the Dr. Seuss estate and holds the legal rights to his works—announced it will no longer publish six Dr. Seuss children's books because they contain depictions of people that are "hurtful and wrong" (their words). The titles that will no longer be published are And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot's Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, Scrambled Eggs Super! and The Cat's Quizzer.

This simple action prompted a great deal of debate, along with a great deal of disinformation, as people reacted to the story. (Or in many cases, just the headline. It's a thing.)

My article about the announcement (which contains examples of the problematic content that prompted the announcement) led to nearly 3,000 comments on Upworthy's Facebook page. Since many similar comments were made repeatedly, I wanted to address the most common sentiments and questions:

How do we learn from history if we keep erasing it?

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