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10 June 2008

Bye Bye Bear

In 2004 the University of Texas Longhorns finished in the top 5 of all college football teams in part behind the strong play of a hot rod running back named Cedric Benson. After that stellar season, Benson was the 4th player drafted into the NFL and signed to play for the Chicago Bears, who were contenders for an NFL title themselves. On the field, the guy is was a stud.

In Chi-town however, the dude named Benson now wearing #32 was largely considered a bust. Aptly described because part of the reason for his dismal performance may have been his repeated run-ins with the law and his related his poor judgment. The most recent of which got him kicked him off the team this week. His team said:

"Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said in a June 9th statement. "As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions. When individual priorities overshadow team goals, we suffer the consequences as a team. Those who fail to understand the importance of 'team' will not play for the Chicago Bears."

Oh yeah. I was not a Bears fan before, but I am now. Let's hear it again shall we?: "When individual priorities overshadow team goals, we suffer the consequences as a team." Amen.

For his part, Benson has pleaded Not Guilty (of course) and took to the airwaves:

"I apologize for making the poor decision to drink and drive ... given the incident last month, it was a particularly bad decision. I have no excuse for this lack of judgment."

But then, predictably he negates the above statement and then offers an excuse after all:

"Though I strongly believe that I am not guilty of any crime, I realize that the public and the Bears organization hold me to higher standard. Though my local attorneys will continue to work hard to prove my innocence, I confess to using poor judgment."

They're gonna have to work awfully hard to prove his innocence since he already admitted drinking and driving. Duh.

"In a sense, every day is judgment day, and we, through our deeds and words, our silence and speech, are constantly writing in the Book of Life."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Speaking of MLK, a fair amount of marriages break up due to infidelity. And I suspect that the infidelity does not start with a romp in the sack, but rather as an innocent glance that slowly and at some point perhaps predictably develops into deal breaking behavior. The boundary line that exists between what the marital partners find acceptable and what they don't gets crossed in these instances.

One guide that makes sense is to not behave with another person in a way that you wouldn't also behave if your spouse were also present. Yet as simple as that sounds, men and women still exhaust their good judgment every day and wreck their family and other families around them.

My expanded soliloquy on the male-female construct can be found here under the series Mating Growl.

"Experience teaches that a strong memory is generally joined to a weak judgment."
- Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

When we burn our hands on a stove as a child, we are likely to develop a healthy respect for the pain, heat and searing skin caused by a stove as a learned adult. After all, kids are curious right? But more importantly, kids are not as knowledgeable or respectful about boundaries or the exercising of good judgment as those supposedly more experienced.

Yet as adults, we see other adults in virtually every walk of life knowingly obliterate their boundaries in pursuit of some forbidden fruit. Personally, I see a connection between some one's level of arrogance and their willingness to exceed agreed to boundaries. How about you?

Nobody made Mr. Benson drink beer and then start driving around at 2 in the morning - he made that choice himself. Nobody made that wandering spouse end up in the no-tell, motel alone with their goumada - he or she made that choice themselves.

So it is their judgment rightfully on trial. And with some positions in life, the expectations are higher than in other positions.

"If a leader repeatedly shows poor judgment, even in little things, people start to think that having him as the leader is the real mistake."
- John C. Maxwell

Political figures, religious figures and sports figures....because of their increased visibility, they all seem to have a plethora of ass baring episodes brought on by, among other things, poor judgement.

What can we learn from these specimens?

What do you tell your children about these public figures? Does one instance of public ass-baring negate the other positive things they do?

If you owned an NFL team, would you hire Cedric Benson to play for you next season?


Kat Wilder said...

My kid, in his own family, has seen what poor judgments can do.

I like to ask him what he thinks about the celeb mishaps, and why. But I'd say it's more the actions of a kid's own parents that impact him/her more. If I'm out with my kid and I have a drink and then we drive home, don't think I am not aware of the metamessage I'm sending him. And when they become teens, kids see through all their parents' hypocrisy.

Celebs seem to circulate in a different world, and as much as kids may idolize them, they get that: their own family does not, however ...

Michael M. said...

Insightful stuff Kat. After reading your comment, I am reminded that Emily recently disavowed her support of Miley Cyrus on her own after risque pics surfaced of Cyrus. Emily's mom and I were surprised (and impressed) with Emily's judicious standard for who to idolize, especially considering how popular Cyrus is.

To your point on family, I share your concern over the family influences. How powerful they are!

Talisman said...

Cedric Benson is part of the reason my Fantasy Football team sucked this year.

I realize that wasn't the point of this post but I felt compelled to point that out. :P

Michael M. said...

talisman ... I bet a lot of people are disppointed with that guy. Just make sure you use fantasy money too and it won't hurt so bad!

Dana said...

Being a Chicago resident currently, I was THRILLED to hear that the Bears held Cedric Benson accountable for his behaviors. It's about time ...