"Extraordinary talent" Is an all-purpose justification for tolerating, pampering, and kissing up to these destructive jerks. Our societal standard appears to be: If you are a really big winner, you can get away with being a really big asshole (53-53).
I'll be the to say that I think I have and currently work with some grade A a-holes. The funny thing is they aren't even "extraordinary talent" either. As I read over Lynsee's question, what kept coming into my mind is "extraordinary talent" "a$$holes" and sports.
Now, I don't plan to 'out' any athletes by name but as a fan of various sports, it seems the 'bad boys' constantly are that when they get fired or waived from teams but then picked up by other teams because they talent is just too damn good to pass up on.
What does that mean? Does this transcend to other professions? Well, from my experience unfortunately it does. What do I do? Well, when I deal with them personally, I stand my ground which has had some limited success yet gives me 100% ease of knowing I didn't put up with an A-hole. That said, as a professional, I wouldn't tell someone what to do, weigh the consequences and figure out what's best given the current situation both short-term and long-term.
Too bad every organization isn't like Men's Warehouse where "we respond immediately if any individual degrades another, regardless of position." (page 58)
What came to mind when I was reading your post is reality television shows. The biggest jerks get the most air time....or they get noticed the most. Could this be intentional? Could this be true not only of athletes but of police officers, salespeople, etc... that the people who make the most noise, are the biggest jerks, get noticed the most? Are we a society that not only tolerates these people but often celebrates this type of people?
We glorify our athletes and reward them with extravagant salaries and bonuses. To paraphrase Tevye, "When you're rich, they think you really know." This is also true of the business moguls. A wealthy ballplayer who helped to win a major title does not become an expert on international affairs or domestic policy aside from having an opinion. Bill Bradley, the former Senator from New Jersey and guard for the New York Knicks is an exception. By endorsing a trip to Disneyland after winning the Super Bowl, the athlete validates this vacation destination with millions of viewers. I suppose that this type of statement is OK as long as he does not use the NFL's bully pulpit to weigh in on the war in Iraq. Plaxico Burris did some dopey things to get himself in trouble with the law. He is good at catching footballs. After a stay in prison, he still has not learned to keep his mouth shut and show some humility as he negotiates with a prospective team.
A streetwise boss of mine used to say, "Just as everyone has an asshole, I have an opinion." Granted, I tended to weigh his words carefully since he was my boss. Whenever he prefaced his analysis with this crudity, he acknowledged that his view was as good as the next guy's. However, as the president of the company, his position was the one that mattered the most internally. Externally, the customer might be a great guy or an asshole. Either way, the customer kept us in business, so we tended to chalk up bad behavior as the cost of doing business. I always learned from my CEO's little chats since he usually was spot on with his analysis of the business deal. In business, one works with the full gamut of human behavior. Some people carry themselves better than others. I no longer take things as strongly as I did when I first started out in sales. I accept good and bad client and management behavior as facts of life in the transaction of business. It simply is what it is as long as it does not compromise one's values and ethics
Money, power, and celebrity are the outward trappings of success in our society. These features do not necessarily equate to intelligence or the development of a well rounded individual nor do they equate to ass holism. They tend to bring out the worst in people under many and varied circumstances.
Check out the above link concerning an article on LeBron James and his post championship press conference. It relates to our discussion and is worth reading.
Does anyone else have thoughts about what JCT found in the NY Times? I would like to hear more.
Well, among many things, my first reaction is well guess what everyone- LeBron is human just like everyone else. He was/is upset and bitter the way people have vilified him for leaving the Cavs. For goodness sake, didn't the Gov of Ohio make the state honorary fans of Dallas after they won???
Did Lebron sound bitter? Sure, but at the same time by no means do I consider him an a$$hole. Were the fans in Cleveland upset he left (yes)- but do I justify some of them burning his jersey? No, but again, I don't consider them a$$holes either.
Loyalty seems all to distant in sports generally- that goes for fans and players. Lebron put in some good years with the Cavs and decided to move on in hopes of winning a title. Let's look at how the media and fans consider success or failure in this case. Miami made it to the Finals and lost in game 6. Is that really an epic failure?
The adversarial approach of the media is think is all to often displayed in sports with there constantly being "winners" and "losers." Yes, I know it's sports and there are always going to be winners and losers but the way the losers are treated, it seemed almost like 'sore winning.'
Oh, and don't get me going about the riots in Vancouver! If anything, those rioters can be called a.....
LeBron James lacks maturity and emotional intelligence. His most notable press conference statement essentially says that he is at the top of the heap with his multi million dollar lifestyle, and that his critics and NBA fans are living their mundane and miserable lives at the bottom. This statement is outrageous and unwarranted because we effectively pay his salary when we buy exorbitantly priced tickets and subscribe to cable to watch him play. We do likewise when we buy LeBron licensed apparel and items endorsed by him. There is no excuse for these types of remarks for without the fans and the critics, the game would lack the enormous revenues that the fans generate. This includes LeBron's lifestyle as he plays a young person's game, albeit on a professional level.
He set himself and the Miami Heat up for failure by setting expectations that he would deliver up to 8 NBA championships. Last summer's spectacle of the BB trinity in Miami was a farce and an exercise in self-indulgence. The egos at play are enormous and lacking in limitation and realistic perspectives. Unlike Bill Russell, Kobie Bryant, Larry Bird, and Dirk Nowetzki who went about their business to win championships, LeBron's hubris and braggadocio was over the top. In a post BB locker room discussion in Michigan, we reviewed the recent NBA finals. The younger players characterized LeBron as a talented player with no rings. Another player called him an outright "loser." The older players echoed my remarks about the all-time greats such as Kareem,MJ, Dr. J and Walt Frazier who kept the off the court trash talk to a minimum as they achieved greatness and delivered the results.
I regard LeBron as an asshole because of my above comments and because he is divise and polarizing within the league. Sir Charles was controversial, but he was funny and exciting to watch. LeBron should discuss defeat graciously instead of lashing out at the people who lavished so much money and glory upon him.