It is a fascinating study in human behaviour checking the reactions of fans and pundits to a sports star’s personal decision. Emotions range from support to utter disdain for the person’s choice. Anger and love are also on display.
Fans think they have a right to comment because they pay for the players’ salaries. There is truth in this statement. Without fans, it would seem there would be no professional sports.
Sportscasters and other pundits believe that their “blinding insights” should have their listeners, readers, and viewers hanging on every brilliant word and thought.
Outside of pro sports, fans of movie stars and other performers also believe they can comment on decisions to accept certain roles or on the quality of one’s performance.
In all cases people are entitled to their own opinion.
However, when the narrative switches from a reasonable opinion to something downright nasty, it is wise to step back and assess the situation. Context is often forgotten.
Andrew Luck is a quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts. He was a pro-bowl performer. This means he was among the top players in the league. He came from Stanford, where he was a star player and graduated with an engineering degree. He was a well-liked teammate and highly respected for his mature outlook and competitiveness. He has made $100 million in his career to date.
And he retired from football last weekend.
He has had many injuries in his career. One kept him out of action for a whole season. This year he has an injury, apparently something with a calf muscle, that has kept him out of practice and all the exhibition games.
He said that he can not enjoy his life because he is in constant pain. So he made a decision that was best for him.
He has been praised. He has been vilified.
Fans are angry because their star player has left the team in a tough spot. He is a difference maker and can win a game with his ability and leadership.
But should we expect someone to place his physical health in peril because of our desire as a fan to support a winning team? Some say yes. Others respect his decision to walk away.
I am not a Colts fan. I have seen the kid play and he is really good. As a fan, to me it matters not whether he plays or not.
As an ex-player the timing seemed odd for me because he didn’t leave his team with many options to implement a plan B. It seemed selfish and unfair to his team.
But when you dig deeper you realize he made a decision that he believes is best for his health and life in the long run. Everybody can appreciate and support someone who does this for these reasons. Every time I walk up stairs it sounds like I am popping popcorn, all due to playing football and rugby and squatting 500 pounds when I was training hard.
Heck, he could have stayed on the injured list all year and collected some $24.5 million for just sitting around. His team would be in the same on field situation as they are with his decision now.
But he said no, that’s not fair to the team.
How many of you would have said “no” to $24.5 million for just sitting around?
Many sports stars have been blasted for staying and playing past their prime. Fans and sports experts hang on the last few awful years of performance rather than remember the great times, maybe a championship, that the player provided.
In business, I have seen people that should have left the organization. They basically “quit and stayed.” They continued to collect their salary and perks and did not contribute any value to the organization, its employees or customers. They should have retired and gone out with their head held high. People would have held them in higher regard because of the great work that was remembered rather than the last few years that were viewed with contempt.
You are responsible for your own life. “If it is to be, it is up to me.” You cannot make decisions about your own well-being by thinking primarily about what others will say about you and your decision. We have all had terrific colleagues that have left what we thought was a great company and situation. We have also had great colleagues lose their job because of a corporate decision (which is made by an actual person) to downsize or reconfigure the operation.
Life goes on. We stay good friends with good people after they leave.
I am certain Andrew Luck’s teammates will stay friends with him, if they were true friends in the first place.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden.
With a little “Luck” you will make the decision that is right for you.