Don’t Need My Thanks, but Thank You

Long and HayesRams Defensive Ends William Hayes and Chris Long do not need my thanks. In fact, no one does. That said, I will begin this blog by saying that if you want to read a remarkable and well-written story, please refer to Elizabeth Merrill’s piece on entitled: “Rams DEs Chris Long, William Hayes confront homelessness in St. Louis.”

Ms. Merrill details the decision by two professional football players, coming from two very different backgrounds, to explore homelessness by living on the streets of St. Louis for a full day. They saw what few of us want to see; the desperation of the men and women on the streets who have nothing and who usually end their days with broken lives and broken dreams.

Chris Long is the son of Howie Long, He grew up in an environment filled with status and success. Ms. Merrill writes in her article:

“[Chris]Long never acts [ed] like a guy who had everything. ‘Treat the bellman the same as you treat the president of the United States,’ Howie Long used to tell his three boys, hoping that privilege wouldn’t affect the way they acted toward others.”

Chris Long’s father made a lot of money as a professional football player and a great deal more as an analyst, actor and spokesperson.

As for William Hayes:

“Hayes had a roof over his head and food in his belly. He was happy. He was showered with love, and never felt as if he was missing anything. It wasn’t until Hayes was older that he realized how much his family really struggled.”

The article tells us the two men were from very different backgrounds. I would tend to disagree with Ms. Merrill just on that fundamental level. Both men were loved and nurtured and were taught right from wrong from an early age. Yes, they are different but nurturing and mentoring can do wonderful things for a child – transformative things, really. If you have been nurtured and given a strong ethical compass you instinctively understand that; however, for many individuals a good sense of ethics is as far away as the next galaxy.

Ethics and life

My experience is teaching and doing personal consulting on the topic of ethics. I am not a sports psychologist; not a social worker or a PR guy – though I respect what all of those folks do.

I started this profession by accident, but it saved my life. Many years ago I made a huge, life-changing mistake. I lost family, friends and reputation. I lost licensing, I lost status, money and I almost lost myself.

Twenty years ago, humbled and ashamed, I had no choice but to rebuild my life. For all of these years I have focused on one simple word and in teaching one way of living: good ethics.

The past couple of years we have been treated to the image of many athletes, male and female, in several sports who have made incredibly bad choices leading to terrible consequences. My story and my mission are to teach what I have learned to athletes, teams, coaches and sports associations. I teach what good ethics look like and how to gain a good ethical compass where none exists. I do not elevate myself and talk down to people. I talk plain, common sense and reach out to people only like a man can do who was once paraded out of a courtroom in handcuffs. When I talk privately to an athlete, I do so with an open heart.

William Hayes and Chris Long are very talented and they are also very blessed. They were given an ethical foundation. However, in my talks and private consultation it never ceases to amaze me, how many men and women in involved in sports, especially professional sports are so poorly grounded in ethical behavior. I help men and women avoid making bad choices.






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Chuck Gallagher
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