Sports Ethics Minute: Not Like You Care

Bernard Pierce“Do you know what happened the last time a Ravens player got a DUI? I’m getting cut tomorrow, not like you care.” – Bernard Pierce, RB Baltimore Ravens

This is where the diehard fans invariably stop following me. It is when I talk about bad choices leading to bad consequences, where I dare to suggest that drunk drivers are wrong, and that professional athletes had better be damn careful before they do something stupid.

“Chuck, what are you some kind of wimp/good-two-shoes/Mr. Perfect? All the guy did was have a few drinks. Who got hurt?”

I am none of those things, really. Just a guy who has seen the aftermath of drunk-driving accidents and who expects that professional athletes – especially, understand the current environment in which they operate.

No joy in the moment

Bernard Pierce is a running back who made a big name for himself in his rookie season; though the next two years his production fell off. His four year contract was worth about $2.7 million. I am sure there were other incentives, appearance fees and endorsements thrown in there as well.

I don’t enjoy seeing a professional athlete lose his or her income. That is NOT what Sports Ethics is about. My objective when I work with a client is always to preserve their career; NEVER to see it blown up.

But going back to the money part, Bernard Pierce is not a poor man. When he stumbled out of the bar, he had the ability to call a taxi, a friend, an Uber driver or wait for a bus for gosh sakes. He was not only drunk (and failed field sobriety tests), he was caught going 55 mph in a 30 mph zone.

Beyond his drunk driving and speeding, Pierce should have known the kind of opponent he was up against: the entire Ravens front office. He cannot beat that opponent!

The Ravens, still stinging from the Ray Rice debacle, have adopted a real live get tough policy. This is not the first dance the Ravens have danced in the post Rice error; Terrence Cody and Victor Hampton were also sent packing after making bad, off-the-field choices. The front office is sending a message and I am amazed the players have not heard the phone ring or have gotten the email.

Always off-the-field

Other than the obvious; a drop off in production or injuries, it is always off-the-field behavior that causes the downfall of any player.

When I talk to athletes either individually, or in a team setting; through a referral from a representative or even a family member, I do not talk to them like their best friend (although I am) or a psychologist or one of those trainers you see at 3 a.m. on cable.

Understand where I came from and where my road led me. A long time ago, I made some bad choices. The choices cost me my career, marriage, friends, professional license. To be honest (it is no secret) for a while my choices led me to serving some time. I had to rebuild my life; I had to start all over.

Along the way, I had some awesome mentors. People who taught me that although I made a bad mistake (it was a non-violent crime by the way), I was not a mistake as a person. I became dedicated to helping others; I have since spent a lifetime working with athletes, associations and executives on ethical behavior. My programs have helped people because I don’t speak ethics from textbooks and deliver human resources lectures; I speak from the heart and help men and women to avoid bad off-the-field consequences.

I hope that Bernard Pierce gets a second chance, because I am all about second chances. I believe we all have the ability to change and to understand.

But to answer your question, Mr. Pierce, no, the police officer did not care. You broke the law and the officer enforced it, and for all we know, the officer saved your life in more ways than you realize.

 

 

 

 

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