Troy Maxson is a bitter man who resents the fact that racial prejudice prevented him from becoming a professional baseball player and does not want his son Cory to experience the same discrimination and disappointment. Although Cory is being recruited to play football in college, Troy's bitterness and negative personal experiences prevent him from exercising perspective and allowing Cory to pursue his dreams.
When Rose tells Troy that it is an honor that Cory is being recruited, Troy responds by saying that playing football will get him nowhere. Rose then argues that times have changed, but Troy refuses to acknowledge the reality of the present situation, which is that black athletes are given plenty of opportunities. Troy firmly believes that racial discrimination will prevent Cory from being successful and tells his son:
The white man ain't gonna let you get nowhere with that football no way. You go on and get your book-learning so you can work yourself up in that A&P or learn how to fix cars or build houses or something, get you a trade. That way you have something can't nobody take away from you. You go on and learn how to put your hands to some good use. (Wilson 51)
While it seems that Troy is genuinely concerned about Cory's future and believes that racial prejudice will negatively affect his opportunities in sports, Troy also does not want Cory to become more successful than him. Troy is a selfish man who fears that Cory's success will overshadow his own athletic accomplishments. Cory understands this side of his father's personality and realizes that Troy's jealously has something to do with why he does not allow him to play football.