This post was originally published on Young Men’s Nation.
Colbert I. King, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post, wrote a brief yet striking opinion piece this past Friday about why he’s not looking forward to the upcoming NFL football season.
What we loved was how this awesome former everything (Army officer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, Executive Director to the World Bank, and did we mention he won a Pulitzer?) just flat out took these young players to task for being unnecessarily narcissistic and immature.
Some choice quotes that stood out to us:
“I… expect grown men to act their ages, not like immature, egotistical showoffs. Unfortunately, Sunday after Sunday, some players use NFL fields across the fruited plain as platforms to display an intellectual development appropriate to juveniles.”
“The end zone has become a place where some professional athletes seize the opportunity to make spectacles of themselves…. There’s nothing spontaneous about their behavior, however. Those gestures, postures and after-play antics are as carefully choreographed as dances on stage…. The sad thing is, those ludicrous figures in football uniforms don’t know that folks in the stands are laughing at them, not with them.”
“Frankly, I’m also embarrassed for them because they are too emotionally stunted to know better.”
We’re now full-fledged fans of Colbert King over here. Rock on, sir. Go follow him on Twitter.
So what kind of athlete do you want to be, gents?
We’d say just shut up, put your head down, work your tail off, don’t complain, let your accomplishments do the talking, and then the only thing people will feel toward you is either awe or respect, and hopefully both.
Instead, many professional athletes these days would rather complicate things by showing off. That just makes people one of two things: angry and resentful when you play well, and spiteful and all “I told you so” when you play poorly.
The angry, resentful people will quite likely lash out at you in unexpected ways, further complicating your game or your life off the field, and the spiteful folks will just heap on the ridicule and shaming when you screw up. Then you gotta deal with that.
Where’s the advantage in any of this? THINK dudes. It’s not all about you. We think Mr. King would agree with us.