I have been very troubled by two very recent scandals that have rocked the sports world. One was by the world’s greatest golfer Tiger Woods and the multiple affairs he carried on during his marriage. The other is basketball star Gilbert Arenas, who brought four unloaded weapons into his team locker (which is banned by the NBA) and used them for a practical joke.
As someone who works within the athletic world it always bothers me when athletes put themselves in bad situations that cause them to make bad decisions. Athletes sometimes fail to realize that they are Heroes to many people in our country and like it or not they set an example for kids. Good or bad. Yet, I still have a heart for those athletes who make mistakes, but accept responsibility for their actions, apologize and try and better themselves. The thing that I struggle to have patience with is when athletes make stupid decisions and take no personal responsibility for it.
We see in the case of Gilbert Arenas, a man who made bad choices but when it came to owning up to it he wouldn’t take full personal responsibility. Gilbert Arenas broke NBA rules by bringing loaded weapons into the locker, yet he says he did nothing wrong and would apologize if he did do something wrong. Hey, last time I checked when you break rules set by the organization you work for, that’s wrong! He also blamed the media for his problems. I am sorry, but did the media bring four guns into the locker room? Did the media have you lay them out in front of your teammate that you owed money too? Did the media make up the rules and laws for the NBA and as well for the District of Columbia? Since this incident broke out, Gilbert Arenas has done nothing but make a big joke of the whole matter and he topped it off a couple nights ago while in a team pre-game he used his index fingers as fake guns making light of the whole situation.
It’s a sad commentary on sports when it’s stars make mistakes and aren’t willing to take personal responsibility for them. Yet I think it’s just not limited to sports, but our country. We have lost the ability to say ‘I am sorry’ and ‘I was wrong’ with no strings attached. Many leaders may apologize but it will be followed by a long explanation (normally longer than the apology) about how it’s someones fault, you don’t understand, the devil, or the “big bad wolf” called the media. Bottom line is that if you’re a leader at any capacity I want to encourage you if you make a mistake just take responsibility for it and move on. We need to set a better example for those coming up behind us and we need to be people who own up for our mistakes.
Mr. Arenas was suspended indefinitely without pay because of his “fake gun” incident. What’s interesting is that he came out after they suspended him and gave what I believe as a sincere apology. I wish he would have done that from the jump and it would have never gotten to this point. Mr. Arenas will loose millions of dollars because of a bad decision, but also because of his lack of personal responsibility. I pray that we can learn from his costly mistake and I pray that we would all begin to take responsibility for our mistakes.