On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS July 8, 2013 #444 Up next…What can be done?
After further review…The despicable plight of Aaron Hernandez, erstwhile tight end of the New England Patriots, has overtaken sports headlines around the country. Too bad that negative news on athletes supplants the good things so many of our professional athletes do.
Hernandez, a talented football star (famously paired with Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots’ other Pro Bowl end), is being held without bail on murder charges. Hernandez allegedly shot a friend (Odin Lloyd) and disposed of his body in an industrial park. He is also under investigation for other gun-related crimes in Massachusetts and Florida. He is said to have expressed a desire to get married while in solitary confinement. It may be less true love than a means by which his fiancé wouldn’t be compelled to testify.
My intent here is not so much to focus on Hernandez, but to point out that 3,000 other professional football players will be starting training camp this month, preparing for the 2013 season. Each of the 32 NFL teams will bring some 100 elite athletes to camp, and then carefully select the 53 that will compose the game roster of each T*E*A*M.
How special is that? Statistics suggest that there are some 30 felons among those 3,000 prospects, or .01%. Those same 30 distributed among 1,700 who make up the final rosters pushes the rate to 1.1111%, a more troubling figure. The NFL has had in place for many years programs to help guide incoming and present players who are confronted with money and status issues. Further, athletes have representation committed to their best interests. Yet, that guidance doesn’t always “take”.
With the dropout rate in the American educational system hovering in the 40-50% range, we can’t expect its performance and behavior standards to be universally absorbed. But ethical and practical guidance does exist for those who can see beyond instant gratification. Is that what leered Hernandez into dysfunction? Or was it the seduction of DYKWIAM (Don’t You Know Who I am?).
What is most important here is how to enable our athletes to avoid these potholes. Perhaps a program called Transformational Coaching, now springing up here on the California Central Coast, could be of service. TCCC is a program designed to coach young people from the “inside-out” creating the person from within in conjunction with improving their God-given athletic skills. If only this program could have captured Hernandez early on.
Will you teach/coach/parent your youngster from the inside-out?