The Easy Way Out
Curt Schilling fired by ESPN.
Johnny Manziel cut by the Cleveland Browns.
Laremy Tunsil, surefire top-five pic slips to 13 in the NFL draft.
Believe me the world is not about to end. But how each of these men has responded is an interesting social commentary.
Before we go too far, let me assure you I will not be discussing transgender issues, marijuana use, or physical abuse of women. Rather my time will be spent on how certain public figures, i.e., athletes, present and former, deal with controversy that affects them, their co-workers, and their friends and family.
Curt Schilling was a fine major league pitcher, good enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. He is also an accomplished analyst of baseball, especially when it comes to pitching.
The issue Curt faces is he also wants to be a commentator on societal problems. However, ESPN made it clear they wanted him to be only a baseball analyst. In fact they suspended him when he wandered into the world of social commentary. ESPN, whether you agree with them or not, set the rules and Curt knew them. No one is saying he can’t speak his mind. But not while he’s employed at ESPN. That’s true for most people who work for a company.
What’s mind-boggling is that Schilling was shocked by ESPN’s response to his commentary on transgender issues. But what is sad is how he reacted. Rather than just moving on, he defended himself by quoting what some of his former colleagues had said, which were highly controversial at the time. His defense? “Someone else said something horrible, so why can’t I?”
Of course that’s what we teach our children. If someone says something mean to you, or about someone you don’t agree with, join in and say whatever you want.
I’m sorry, but the easy way out would have been just to say, “Obviously, ESPN is not the company for me” and get on with his life.
Right now, judging by his writings, Curt is puffing out his chest looking for a lot of “Atta boy!” support. I’m sure there are a lot of people who can’t wait to work with him. Too bad he didn’t take the easy way out.
Johnny Manziel was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. Now he is a man indicted for the physical abuse of his girlfriend. The Browns got tired of his erratic behavior and let him go, and it doesn’t look like a second act is on the horizon.
Having been born in Cleveland, I was pleased when the Browns drafted Manziel. I thought he would shake things up, bring life to a moribund franchise. Sadly, I became part of the legion of enablers.
Johnny had never grown up. Because of his prowess on the football field, his immaturity was ignored. This is how he lived. Just get out of his way. As long as the touchdowns kept coming, his off- the-field antics were suppressed.
Now suddenly the man who didn’t have the ability to stop talking is silent. His biggest problem is he doesn’t have an agent to tell him what to say. And his enablers have abandoned him. He burned through his talent quicker than he burned through his money.
I pray, I hope, we will meet the person who knows the man behind the charade. The person who will speak honest words before it’s too late. That person, of course, is Johnny Manziel.
Unfortunately, instead of taking this easy way out, apologizing for his reckless behavior, Johnny would rather, drink in hand, reminisce about what once was.
Laremy Tunsil is a mountain of a man who basically has made a mess of his past few years. Marijuana abuse, payment by his college coaches in violation of NCAA rules, and an arrest for a fight with his stepfather. And the reason we know all of this is because it played out on national television during the NFL draft.
Dropping to number thirteen in the first round of the NFL draft doesn’t seem like a lot. But it means a loss of millions of dollars on top of the public humiliation.
As he was interviewed everyone waited for excuses and denials. But no. What we heard was an apology. And he was ready to move on.
How refreshing. An apology.
I pray that this is a new beginning as Laremy throws off the mantel of his past.
One can only hope that Curt and Johnny will discover how easy it can be to just do the right thing.