If, over the past few weeks, you’ve paid an ounce of attention to one of the countless screens you view on a day-to-day basis, you have no doubt caught wind of what is going on around the NFL this fall. In the course of three weeks, numerous allegations have come out regarding domestic abuse, child endangerment, and the accused players have been in the limelight more than the actual gameplay.
However disturbing some of these offenses may be, it’s the league’s (and more importantly, the teams’) handling of each situation that has begun to catch my eye, and the attention of critics across the country. To keep a very long and detailed story concise, no one has handled this situation responsibly. Instead, NFL owners, coaches, and even the commissioner himself, have been sucked into what ESPN radio host Mike Greenberg very accurately dubbed, a vacuum of leadership.
His reasoning resonated with me, both as a fraternity leader and as a citizen, that leadership is supposed to be about truly clearing a path for others to follow, and never being afraid to stand up for what you know is right, moral, and true. In their dancing back and forth decision making process over the last week, the leadership of several major NFL teams has been displayed for what it truly is; cowardice.
True leadership is not reliant on the approval or opinion of others. Leaders do not wait around to see what the rest of the world thinks before acting. Leaders do not sit and make excuses while waiting for someone else to make a decision for them. Leaders, in our world, in our community, and in our fraternity, know the difference between right and wrong long before public opinion has to tell them otherwise. Our leaders are not afraid to say, “I’m not comfortable condoning this,” or “This is what needs to be done.”
So to the NFL teams that continue to wait on the rest of the world for the right call, I say this. Make a decision, and stick with it. Even a decision everyone dislikes is a more profound statement of leadership and direction than what is currently happening in this league.
To the members of our fraternity, pay attention. Every day, for the rest of your life, you will be tested. You will be challenged. Your morality will be put to trial, and I promise you, it will always be easier to take the easy way out. It will always be easier to let someone make decisions for you, and it will always feel more comfortable to do so. But by joining this organization, you swore to lead. You swore to stand up for your beliefs, and to create a better world around you. I have faith that our generation can show the rest of the world that despite a lack of true leadership in our most popular sport, the young men who make a difference every day on college campuses across the country know what it really means to pave the way for everyone else.
Take this to heart brothers, and challenge yourselves to make a difference today. You alone control the impact you can have on this world.