Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, VP of Content and Engaged Learning for WorkinSPorts.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast.
It is always my goal to avoid extremely topical discussions -- the reason being, if I talk about the Browns - Rams game last night, or the impact of Tean USA failing at the World Cup -- these things become out of date and are no longer relevant in short time.
The thing about this podcast is all the information in the first episode 2 years ago is just as relevant today as it was then. So if you are a new listener, know that every episode is still worth listening to, becasue the content has meaningful and relevant ideas about working in the sports industry.
Now I give that preamble because before I get into today’s question I am going to talk about something topical… something happening right now, but also something we all deal with as fans.
As most of you know I’m from Boston. Been a Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and Red Sox fan for life. Not because of success, rather because of failure. I sat through miserable seasons, and I relish in all that is great right now….but I’ve had a major problem with the Antonio Brown saga as it relates to my fandom.
Here’s the thing -- I believe very much in the spirit and sanctity of the locker room. It’s a special place. A family. A unique bond between men and women which should be the safest emotional place in the world for athletes.
When Antonio Brown went live on facebook from the Steelers locker room, against the team rules, I was off that guy forever. I love elite athletes and I’ll apologize for some misbehavior, but this broke every rule of being a good teammate and to me that was enough to say -- don’t like this guy.
Watching from afar as he had his issues continue with the Steelers and then on to the Raiders -- I thought many times, I wouldn’t want this guy on my team. And then they did it, they signed him, and I listened to fans and media types alike twist themselves into pretzels to say it’s OK now becausse he’s on our team.
I hate this attitude. If he had signed with the Chiefs we’d be mad, but since he signed with our team we forgive? That’s crap.
And then it got worse. Sexual assault and rape allegations, not paying people who had workd for him, general disrespect of his fellow man. I literally, for the first time in my 44 years didn’t want to support my team. I kind of felt over it. Other things seemed more appealing to me than cheering on this guy.
My team had a chance to say -- we’re not going to play you as we investigate what happened here -- hell they could have even covered for him more and faked an injury, or said he wasn’t ready to participate in the offense yet.
But they didn’t - they trotted him out there in their jersey out to practice every day then played him against the Dolphins. It all just felt icky.
Of course everyone deserves the right to be innocent until proven otherwise, and of course nothing has been proven about him… but again, I didn’t like his comportment as a teammate before the alleged sexual assaults, rape and other crimes.
And let���s not forget this is the same a hole who tossed furniture from the balcony of his 14-story apartment building last April, nearly killing a 22-month-old toddler. These are not the actions of a good person.
You become conflicted as a fan… do I forgive and forget because they give my team a better chance of winning? I’m sorry, I can’t do that anymore. For the first time ever, this scenario made me question being a sports fan… where we perceive winning is mor important than being good.
Yes, I am naive, yes this has been happening quite literally since the dawn of sports time… these aren’t boy scouts, they are flawed humans. I get it. Something felt different this time around… maybe it’s the tyreek hill situation here too. Hurting his kid...allegedly...and then getting a contract extension.
To give some context here, I love love love the Josh Gordon story - couldn’t cheer for that guy to turn his life around any more. These are different issues completely.
And I respect what Tom Brady said this morning when asked about Antonio -- I’ll paraphrase “"I care deeply about my teammates," ... I've had a lot of teammates over the years, so you invest not just your head, but your heart. You invest your soul. That's what makes a great team. That's what makes a great brotherhood.
"So, I think the endearing trait about sports for me is the relationships I get to build, because they're very meaningful. That's at the heart, philosophically, of my life. It's really about great relationships and seeing guys from all different backgrounds. I think it brings all of us together in so many ways."
"There's a lot of things that get in the way of that. I think we're in a culture where people want to cast judgment quickly on people. We want to disparage people so quickly. And it just speaks to me that a lot of people are probably hurting, because when you're not feeling great, you want other people to know that. I think it becomes very emotional.
" ... I believe the more you care for people, the more you love people, the more you find joy in your life, the better our society is, the better our communities are, the better our teams are, the better our families are. That's how I feel."
I love his optimism, I agree love solves an awful lot -- but you also have to think of tghe person on the other side of these controversy’s. Think of the woman who he threatened after she came forward. Sharing a picture of her kids.
Concluding there are “good people on both sides of this” isn’t being intellectually honest. He’s a multi-millionaire who allegedly used his power to affect the livelihoods and health of others. There needs ot be consequences.
Antonio Brown doesn’t have a job right now, the intimidating text messages to one of his accusers was the “enough is enough” moment for the Patriots after 11 days. But it shouldn’t have gotten there. I’m happy it did, I felt a sense of relief when they cut him, but none of this feels right.
I guess my point in all of this is, don’t turn a blind eye to what is right or wrong because someone is wearing your favorite jersey. Ask yourself, how would I feel if they played for my rival, instead of my team. If those two things don’t add up, then you have to question where your head is.
Alright on to today’s question -- from Charles Roberts - Charlees posted this in our private facebbok group for the podcast and it got numerous responses. I started to type up a response myself, but thought...lets’ go into some detail on an episode:
Hey guys not trying to be negative but just need to to vent to people who understand where I’m coming from. The quest to get into the sports field is so frustrating. Even having a Masters and halfway thru a PHD programs still can’t even land an interview or time of day from collegiate or professional organizations. After five years the countless no’s without one interview request I’m just wondering if it’s even worth the time and energy anymore. Does anyone have any suggestions or tips I’m down to try anything at this point.
OK, so before we get into it -- lots of great responses came in from people in the group -- some were aligned with Charles having the same problems, others had ideas to help, and some people were just flat out negative… which happens.
So let’s set some ground rules here:
I am not going to give you fluff. No meditate. No spa days to relax. No take your mind off of it by going for ice cream.
Those things don’t help you pay the bills.
Listen in for Brian's advice
Hey it’s Brian -- looking for an angle into the sports industry --
The sports industry increasingly utilizes mental health professionals to help athletes achieve their maximum potential.
Are you ready to Take the Lead and help the athletes you work with become the best they can be? If so, an advanced degree in sport and performance psychology from University of Western States may be for you.
Highlights of the UWS sport and performance psychology program include: teaching the process of setting and attaining high-level achievements, creating and leading a highly effective team, and positive motivation and effective communication skills.
UWS offers affordable master’s and doctoral degrees that can be completed online and on your own time.
Take the Lead in helping athletes and teams bring home their next championship. A degree in Sports and Performance Psychology is the next step in your athletic leadership career. Visit www.uws.edu/takethelead for more information.
And the Work in Sports podcast is brought you by the Work in Sports Academy…
About 20 times a week i get questions from people like -- how can I build a resume to highlight my skills? How can i build my network of contacts? How do I stand out for the right reasons? How do I gain experience when I don’t have tons of time?
If you are listening right now, you respect my thoughts opinions and experfience - and i think you for that from the bottom of my heart. I love helping you all.
And that is why I created the Work in Sports academy -- all my best ideas fit into online courses organized for exactly what you need. All these questions and more are answered!
Check out WorkinSports.com/Academy to learn more and sign up for one of our classes -- you won’t regret it!