In one recent NFL game, a receiver caught a pass near the sideline of the opposing team. Afterwards, he tossed the football at one of the assistant coaches and then proceeded to make taunting gestures at him.
In another game, a player caught the football in the end zone and scored a touchdown. He was standing when he made the catch, but afterwards he dramatically fell on his back, then jumped up and started beating his chest and prancing around.
In both cases, the officials threw penalty flags. But the 10- or 15-yard penalties seemed minor consequences compared to the disregard shown to the other team and the fans.
Other times players even threw punches at each other. Some of these resulted in penalties but others did not.
I found myself asking, “Why do the coaches tolerate this kind of behavior? Why don’t they make these players sit out the rest of the game…at a MINIMUM?”
Players who lack self-control and composure need to be held accountable for their actions. Period. If they’re allowed to act this way on the field, what else might they do?
I learned something from the business world that applies to sports teams as well: The standard is set by the lowest-performing person on the team.
In sports, when someone gets away with showing off or using violence, the other players take note of that. If no serious consequences occur, then others may do something even more outrageous to see just how far they can go.
Why I object to players exhibiting such unprofessional behavior...
1 - They forget they’re part of a team.
The flagrant disregard for the impact their actions might have on their team shows lack of respect and consideration. They’re concerned only about what feels good to them at that moment. I suspect this narcissistic approach is not limited to the football field.
2 - They set a poor example for young viewers.
People who play professional sports have a responsibility to their fans. Whether they want to be or not, they serve as role models for those who watch their games. Kids in particular are paying close attention to what they say and do…and what happens (or doesn’t happen) as a result.
I would like to see more team owners and coaches take a stronger stand against the actions of self-centered players who disregard the greater good in favor of their own wants and desires.
The truly outstanding coaches understand that they are not just trying to win games. They will win more games when they recognize they have a responsibility to develop human beings who strive for excellence and work hard to be a positive influence in the world.