Paradox In the news: Carmelo Anthony, Tara Connor

Couple of half-interesting stories in the news lately:

A. Tara Connor almost hears, "you're fired" from the Donald. This goes under the heading of why it's better in business to forgive. First, the back story, for those living under a rock for the last week or so. Trump purchased the Miss America pageant a while ago. This year Tara Connor wins it. Then it comes out she has made some questionable decisions which might tarnish her crown. She fesses up and asks the Donald for forgiveness and offers to enter rehab.

My thoughts on the business decision: in many, if not most, business cases, it is better to forgive than to punish. Here's why this is a sound decision:

1. You communicate positive leadership values and fight the culture of blame that takes root in many organizations.

2. You gain the allegiance of the person you forgave and many other people through the ranks.

3. You free yourself to make an occasional mistake yourself, so you can explore different courses of action before selecting one. You enjoy that freedom because you have not set up yourself to be perfect.

B. Carmelo Anthony takes a sucker punch in a game a week or two ago, and gets a nice fine and suspension. He wasn't forgiven, unlike Miss America above. What's the difference? It's this: Anthony is in a place where he should know better - he's (supposedly) had enough life experience that he should know how to act and what is expected of him. But in fact he has shown on more than one occassion that he's just interested in himself. He recently threw a temper tantrum because the ball wasn't passed to him so he could take the last shot of the game.

He's supposedly a franchise player for the NBA. There has been a rash of selfish, destructive and violent behavior in the NBA, even very recently, but overall for a long time. He also gets paid a truck load of money to be one of the sport's spokespeople. He knows what's expected, what he's paid for, and he failed in one moment. Commissioner David Stern has taken a hard stance on this type of thing, as shown in some of this year's rule changes.

However, it's my view that he should also be fined heavily by the NBA players' union, and when his league suspension is over, if I were the team owner, I would sit him down for another 10 games as well. This would make the point that NO body of people involved in the NBA game are going to tolerate this sort of school yard, childish behavior, no matter what your name is, period.

The league has even taken the long-shot advertising ploy to make commercials that show players talking about being on a TEAM, and being part of a larger effort. In this case, it backfired, and the real crux of the players' mindset has come through. Again. Many of the league's players are not buying what Stern is selling, and when it is manifest in deed, it is painfully obvious.

Recently, another league bad-boy, Allen Iverson, was traded to Denver after refusing to play any more for the Sixers. He sat for a week or two before he was traded to the same team for which Anthony plays. For some time now, Iverson's Sixers jersey has been a league best-seller at $160, because the inner city bangers across the nation think he is their model. One has to wonder if there is enough oxygen in Denver to be able to hold both Carmelo AND Iverson (or "The Answer" as he likes to call himself). If he is The Answer, what, pray tell, is The Question?

I have a few.


Memphis Steve said...

The days of expecting our beauty pagent winners to be angels are over. This is crap. Even girls in Sunday school aren't as clean as they're expecting Tara to be. Or even Miss Nevada, for that matter.

As for the NBA and other pro sports, more and more the players are acting like punks and the leagues are trying to figure out what to do about it, but it's a hard problem to tackle because most of the jerks have no fathers and were encouraged to act like that their whole lives. Now suddenly they have money and are expected to be real men, but they don't have any idea what that means. Sure as hell our culture isn't teaching it anymore.

That One Guy said...

right on both accounts... the pageant industry is suspect, at best. Why are we still doing that? Oh, I forgot, follow the money.

Reach Upward said...

So, you are saying that the punishment should fit the offender's capacities, right? Miss America did something stupid, but it was a youthful indiscretion type of thing that could be written up to inexperience. Anthony, on the other hand, should have enough experience to know better than to act the way he did, and it's not a first offense kind of thing. He deserves serious punishment.

Steve has a point about many NBA players having no positive male role models and disciplinarians in their youth, but even people without those benefits reach a point in life where they should know enough to act better.

Still, you note that the bad boy image is highly desirable in certain cultures. Going to jail for them is as much a right of passage in that culture as is your son serving a mission in Mormon culture. How do you fix this in a culture?

BTW, how's your boy doing? I hope all is well with him. And thanks for your advice on the iPods. My two oldest (15 and 13) love the 4GB iPod Nanos we got them for Christmas. They don't know how they ever survived without them. My 13-year-old has figured out how to use our keyboard and PC to mix down his own compositions to MP3 and then get them on the iPod. Your advice was very helpful.

That One Guy said...

How do you fix this in a culture? Boy, there's the question of the week, Reach.

Society's expectations are so porous and diverse that it seems there is so much to do, and no ability with which to do it.

How do you affect such a monumental change, a paradigm shift, across a society?

And by the way, glad to hear the iPod thing went well.