A Lesson from Football

If you’re connected to anything at all, you’ve heard about this interview.

Probably the fairest and most balanced report of what happened appears here.  According to the Wikipedia, “From 1991 until October 2011, a version of his song “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” was used as the opening for broadcasts of Monday Night Football.”

Embedded in a 3:31 clip is one comment that ended a twenty year relationship, whoever’s side of the story you believe.

The result will be a change in the programming and I must admit that I enjoyed the Barry Sanders introduction this week.  But, that’s not the point.

Very few of us will go through life and have the opportunity to be big in the media like a Hank Williams Jr. or a Barry Sanders.  But, if you blog or Twitter or use Facebook, you do have a media presence.  If your students blog or Twitter or use Facebook, they have a media presence as well.

Some folks feel that they have themselves covered with statements like “The opinions expressed here are mine and not necessarily those of my boss.”  That’s fair enough and may, in fact, be a true statement.  But, if you’re on your favourite social media and you decide to slam your employer, or your teacher, or make some other really unfortunate comment, will your boss/teacher/audience read your disclaimer and say, “Oh, OK, he’s got a disclaimer”.

When I coached football, I was offensive coordinator to three different head coaches.  The common thread to all three was the message that they delivered to we coaches and to our young gentlemen that you hold your head and dignity high.  We play the game and we build character.  Nothing else is acceptable.

If you remember Barry Sanders, he was the ultimate in class.  No taunting, no spiking of the football – he played the game spectacularly and with the highest level of dignity.

I’m sure that Hank Williams Jr. went into the interview with a purpose of expressing his thoughts and opinions.  I can’t believe that he had any intention of creating the situation that followed, but it happened.

With live television, there’s no opportunity to review and edit before it goes live.  Students using social media do have that option though.  Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this situation is the encouragement to all to proofread and predict the consequences, both in the short term and the long term, of a comment or a post before submitting it.


One comment

  1. Doug, thanks for the reminder abotu how careful we have to be, especially as educators, abotu what we say. Whether it be online through the various forms, or in our classrooms to our students, someone can takek it the wrong way and create tension in your career. I will definitely bite my tongue and think twice before saying anything that can be construed in a way that would be detrimental to myself.


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