LSU v Louisville at the Citrus Bowl

It’s Bowl Season.
I love college football, but this year the bowls have been overshadowed by the discussion on whether it’s ok for a player to skip playing a bowl game if they are going out for the NFL draft. The one getting the most attention is Lenonard Fournette  – LSU’s running back and projected first round draft pick. Most commentators are taking the position that he has to protect his future and that there’s nothing wrong with him sitting the game out. That it’s the NCAA’s fault for not allowing athletes to accept pay or endorsement deals while in college or making them sit out from the draft until they are three years out from graduating high school.  I think that whole argument is horse pucky!
From kindergarten, I remember being taught one basic life lesson – You finish what you start! You don’t quit because it gets hard, you get tired, or you like what’s on the other side of the fence more.
I see it as more a reflection of what is becoming the predominant sentiment of people. It’s all about me.
Fournette is part of a team. His season isn’t over until the last game is played. If this wasn’t the Citrus Bowl and instead it was the National Championship game on the line– would it still be ok for a key player to not take the field? I think it would be a total different conversation.
To me he has failed to meet his obligation as a member of that team. It’s not just about him. It’s much larger.
The same sentiment can be seen in many areas today. Politicians lining their pockets instead of truly working for the betterment of their constituents. Members of organizations who fail to be active members or show up only for “fun” events and not the work days. Teachers who rely on tenure to keep their jobs instead of developing their skills and actively engaging students. Employees milking the clock and allowing others to carry the load.
It’s truly a me society. We’ve made it perfectly acceptable to allow selfishness to overshadow responsibility, duty, expectation and obligation.
What I don’t understand is why the masses have decided that this attitude is the one we want to glorify and exemplify. Why are we not talking about the responsibility we have to our fellow man? Why do we think putting our self above our responsibilities is ok? What are we teaching the next generation about the expectations of society?
We spend a lot of time talking about how we engage people and employees. To me, as long as we continue to put the spotlight on those people who choose to put themselves first over their team, organization or fellow man – we’re fighting a losing battle. Engagement means you actually care about the job, the people you work with, the story, the team.
Fournette says the only person he owes anything to is his daughter. While I respect him for taking care of his child, he’s got it wrong. He owes a lot more. He’s set himself up as a person other young athletes admire. He has fans that donate and support the institution that provided him a free education. He’s got teammates that are having to pull his weight. His message is loud and clear – it’s all about the money. It’s a character issue. If you’ll quit on them, you’ll quit on the next guys too.

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