I love football.
I’m not a Florida State fan (Go Mizzou!), but I don’t have anything against them either. I’ve enjoyed many of their games over the years and have always been a Bobby Bowden fan. But this Jameis Winston thing makes my blood boil.
In case you haven’t heard, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner jumped up on a table in the student union last week and screamed words that are so ugly and profane they would have gotten every person who’s reading this fired for doing the same thing at work. What Jameis got was a half-game suspension. That’s two quarters. Thirty whole minutes. Until the Florida State big wigs realized they were getting killed in the media. Then they made it a full game. Wow.
Keep in mind, this is the same guy who was accused of sexual assault (and who many people still insist got preferential treatment), who stole food from a Publix supermarket, who broke apartment windows with a BB gun, and who filled a soda cup at a fast food restaurant and walked out without paying for it.* And all of this just since he enrolled in school in 2012.
What we have here is a lesson in the fine art of enabling.
Bad behavior has to be confronted with strength, especially in the case of a person of privilege who feels a sense of entitlement. Otherwise, you exponentially increase the chance of it happening again. Ecclesiastes 8:11 says, “When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.” How true. I don’t feel a bit sorry for coaches and administrators who are more worried about their won/loss records than the behavior of their players. They deserve their headaches and 3:00 a.m. phone calls from the police.
By the way, with all the off-the-field criminal activity being perpetrated by NFL players these days, I’m sure league officials are thrilled at the thought that Jameis Winston will be their problem very soon.
Here’s your tip for the day: If you are in a position of leadership–a coach, parent, teacher, business owner, church elder, league commissioner, etc.–treat the bad behavior of the people you’re trying to lead like deadly poison, because that’s exactly what it is. That doesn’t mean you have to brow-beat them or never give them a second chance. But this mamby-pamby slap-on-the-wrist stuff will never work with people who think they are bigger than the organization.
Even if it means you have to sacrifice some short-term success, both you, your organization, and the perpetrator will be better off in the long run.
And your phone won’t be ringing in the middle of the night.
*Reported in the Florida Times-Union on April 30, 2014.