Joseph Randle: Hollow Apologies and Real Good-byes

Joseph-Randle“It’s the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life,” Randle said two days after his arrest. “I’ve never gotten in any kind of trouble in my whole life. This is just something I’ll have to learn from and move forward.” — Joseph Randle, October 2014

In October 2014, Joseph Randle was arrested for shop-lifting underwear and men’s cologne from an upscale shopping mall near Dallas. Even more ridiculous about this crime was the fact that it was a tester bottle of Gucci cologne. You know, the kind of bottle that a hundred other freeloaders had sampled from before and spraying Lord-knows-what.

According to reports, when he was booked he also said some really stupid things to a female worker at the jailhouse. Why did he do that? Because when you’re a big-time running back for the Dallas Cowboys you think you can get away with such things. The team supposedly fined him, but we don’t know the amount; for all I know, it was a case of Gucci cologne for his teammates.

After the “apology” above, Randle had a pretty decent season and in fact, he was in line to see his playing time increase. However, on February 2, 2015, he managed to get himself busted for marijuana.

Todd Archer, writing for ESPN (February 4, 2015), “Randle arrested for pot possession,” states:

“According to police in Wichita, Kansas, Randle was arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana at 2:53 a.m. Tuesday. According to Wichita police, officers showed up at a hotel after receiving a call for domestic violence with a weapon. They found Randle and a 22-year-old woman at the hotel and observed marijuana in the room, which was rented to Randle.”

Randle was arrested. If there is a saving grace, no weapon has been found.

“Randle was arrested and issued a notice to appear in front of a judge. He was not booked and a mug shot was not taken. The police are investigating the domestic violence charge…police are investigating whether another individual was there and left the scene before they arrived.”

Going for broke

Why would a promising running back set to step up and assume a bigger role in the Cowboy’s organization be caught in a hotel room that was reeking of marijuana?

We would need to go back to that day in October when he stole that germ covered bottle of Gucci; actually, the day before that day in October. We need to explore Joseph Randle’s ethical mindset.

It never fails. The downfall of most athletes in their prime is off the field behavior. Think of almost any recent scandal and it happened off the field. On the field, athletes function so well and do so many amazing things because of muscle memory. Over and over, their bodies have been trained to act in the moment and to perform up to levels that we mere mortals cannot reach. Whether it is hitting a slider, intercepting a pass, spiking a volleyball – you name it, the repetition, the coaching, the training, the conditioning kicks in at key moments. Muscle memory does not happen overnight. In Randle’s case, I am sure, the process started at a very young age.

However, off the field many athletes are clueless. There is a breakdown in logic. They often emulate things they have seen on television or in the movies or act roles they think they should act. For many athletes, bad choices and the consequences of those choices are not thought through; it is impulse and acting in the same moment as they might pull down a pass or take a 3-point shot at the buzzer.

Sports Ethics programs are designed to teach what we call Ethical Muscle Memory™ to train athletes to make good decisions for themselves and to clearly understand that their choices, good and bad, will lead to consequences.

Back in October, on the day Joseph Randle saw some underwear and cologne and thought: “What the heck; it’s here and I run fast and I make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year so I’m entitled.”

What he didn’t consider was that off-the-field, society has laws and a whole host of expected behaviors. It is why a security guard making $8.45 an hour working in a department store can ruin the career of a football player on the verge of making millions.

Concerning February 2, 2015: I have stayed at many, many hotels and motels. I am sure you have as well. Hotels and motels have expectations. They expect that people won’t trash the rooms, commit domestic violence or smoke marijuana. In fact, most hotels are non-smoking. Here’s another point: most hotels are filled with families and working stiffs. A lot of people (and this might surprise Joseph Randle), need to sleep so they can go out the next day and bring in an income. They don’t much care that you scored three rushing touchdowns the year before. They have a mortgage to pay, or kids to feed or car payments or most anything else that people in a civilized society must do.

A person functioning with high a high degree of ethics and making good choices would have known where the escapade might have led. Joseph Randle did not. It may cost him his job. The Cowboys are a good team getting better. No one needs a teammate who gets arrested twice in four months. It doesn’t work that way anymore.

We help athletes like Joseph Randle. First, he must want to be helped and not to just make hollow apologies.


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