Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Second Opinion

In recent days a video from the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium has surfaced showing Cris Carter advise rookies to "nominate a fall guy in their crew" in order to protect their "brand".

This is terrible advice. First, it's illegal. Second, it teaches young players that they don't have to be responsible for the outcomes of their actions. Third, it encourages NFL rookies to find ways around the law, rather than respecting the law.  Fourth, did I mention it's illegal, and if they got caught they'd be in even bigger trouble?!

As soon as it became public, both Carter's current employer, ESPN, and the NFL distanced themselves from his comments. Carter quickly made a public apology for his words, which you can watch HERE.

I understand why Carter and Sapp were asked to speak at this symposium. They've both faced struggles in life. They've both wrestled with drugs and alcohol. The league saw them as having a positive, redemptive, "learn from our mistakes", story to tell. By the accounts of those who've watched the whole presentation, it was generally excellent, except for the "fall guy" advice.

As I thought through all this information I realised that for some of the rookies in the room that day, this symposium may provide them with some of the most honest talk they'll hear for years. Many of them are millionaires and they'll be surrounded by a "crew" who will want to agree with and please their star player because that's how they can stay on the gravy train. That's why Carter's advice is so tragic. Instead of hearing the message the positive message about the importance of staying out of trouble, some of them will only remember the advice to "get a fall guy".

I'm reminded of the wisdom the writer of Proverbs demonstrates thousands of years ago when he recommends accumulating a variety of advisers. I would like to think that the players who heard Carter's advice had someone else they could bounce it off before they put it into practice: someone wise, someone objective, someone unafraid to speak even the unpopular truth.
Without wise guidance, a nation falls;
    but victory is certain when there are plenty of wise counselors.
  Proverbs 11:14
Do you have a wise counselor in your life? 
Do you have plenty of wise counselors? 
Are you equipped to serve as a wise counselor for a young person in your life?


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