In modern media, "the full story" is a bit of an industry unicorn. Thanks to social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, the never-ending hunger for 24/7/365 news coverage, and the increasing salaciousness of journalism's clickbait era, a nuanced story that shows a side from all parties is increasingly rare. Rather, information is passed around second-hand. One website reports the original story; the others aggregate in kind. A game of Telephone can unfold, sacrificing crucial details in the process. It can be a cutthroat business.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate has seen the highs and lows of this new age in communications. The Pro Bowl wide receiver who tallied 99 catches last season en route to a one-stop playoff appearance is undoubtedly talented. However, his public profile has also been shaped by anything from Twitter to tabloid speculation. Last year, he was the subject of rumors of adultery concerning former teammate Russell Wilson and a supposed affair that Tate had with Wilson's ex-wife, Ashton Meem. In February, Tate denied the story, adding that it was "sad" that Wilson himself hadn't put the claims to rest. At the same time, reports emerged of locker room tension between Tate and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Percy Harvin during their time together in Seattle, dragging Tate's name into a story that he views as a "misunderstanding" more than anything. In April, Tate's views on domestic violence were quickly picked apart by what he may refer to as "the eye in the sky" after he tweeted about his frustrations with social media's reactionary culture. He would end up deleting his original tweets. 

The most immediate impression of Tate runs counter to the brash, unapologetic persona you may have cobbled together from news stories. While we're sitting at a high school field in Birmingham, Mich.—where teenagers awkwardly find reasons to walk by Tate, say hello to him, and perhaps ask for a picture—he is unfailingly polite and accommodating. And while some of his past antics and quotes have occasionally seemed larger-than-life, Tate's quiet composure today doesn't come across as affected or put-on. It's clear that he would rather have a good conversation than make an easy headline. We have all heard of Golden Tate, the mercurial loudmouth. But the Tate who I'm sitting with is quick to note that he is a deeply devoted Christian (he was raised Southern Baptist), and a proud fiancé to his longtime partner, Elise Pollard. He's a passionate supporter of the military, a commitment that extends to his charitable organization, the Golden Future Foundation. 

I'm hesitant to call Tate arrogant. Self-assured, yes. But, mostly, he has no fear about communicating in a direct and honest way, whether you agree with him or not. He, for instance, will say that he would've been a difference-maker for the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. When asked to name his top five receivers in the NFL, he lists himself (though, he does add Dez Bryant as a sixth, perhaps placing himself as the odd man out). Regardless of whether those things are true, you'd be hard-pressed to feel any sort of anger towards him when you hear him say it in-person. Tate is a man powered by belief; and as much as he believes it's God who gave him his gifts, he seems to also believe in these gifts as an extension of himself. It's not arrogance. It's faith.

But what's expressed in-person can fail to translate when it's put on the page. It's one thing to read something, but listening to someone as they say it will always add another dimension. As a public figure who is often at a distance from his spectators, Tate doesn't usually have the luxury of his audience understanding context or tone. But even if he's beset by questions and commentators on a regular basis (whether from the media or Twitter trolls), he's always quick to maintain perspective. Anyone from Tate to Tom Brady will tell you that you won't win in this league until you've learned how to keep your critics out of sight and out of mind.