Men will always be men. Boys will be always be boys! Unfortunately, some behavior can extremely negative. And there is also behavior that is completely not tolerated.
Over the weekend, Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) demonstrated some very negative off-field behavior. He simply acted out in a very aggressive way. And he completely crossed the line by committing domestic assault upon newlywed wife, Evelyn Lozada, by headbutting her during an argument. It is behavior that is simply not tolerated nor should be kept silent.
This abusive behavior is very damaging in many ways. It harm the athletes image. It creates unnecessary attention that the athlete does not need. It also craws negative attention to the rest of his team mates and professional organization, which creates an atmosphere of drama. This behavior also creates a negative persona on professional athletes. It slowly creates a stigma where professional athletes are viewed as "bad boys." The social media also intensifies the negative image by projecting the abusive image of the athlete onto the internet, television, radio, and print media. Sponsors will start puling away from the athlete because they do not want to be associated with the athlete.
Overall, professional athletes are expected to maintain a professional behavior. They are viewed by the public as idols, role models, and someone to look up to. Most athletes can handled the role of a professional athlete with poise and pizazz. On the other hand, sometimes this image can not be met. Some athletes crack under the pressure of being under the spotlight. They simply can not take the pressure. Some athletes turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. Some turn to sex and extramarital affairs to deal with the pressure.
There is also not a time to allow a professional athlete's negative behavior to excused or accepted. There are absolutely no excuses for professional players not making positive choices in their professional career. They can not use the pressure or spotlight as an excuse because it becomes a crutch for them. It allows the behavior to enabled and tolerated. It also does not go to the root of the problem and find the right solutions for them. Once they get to root of the problem, there is the potential of resolving these issues.
Personally, I do not believe that agents, coaches, and team management have done enough to help new and current professional athletes cope with the pressures of being under the spotlight. It is important for athletes find positive ways to cope with the pressures. They need to be placed into the right group of people who will shape, mold and guide them to the way of the spotlight.
When the athlete is not able to handle the pressure, it is important for the organization to provide tools to help cope with the pressure. There are Sport Psychologists and Counselors that help athletes talk about the pressure and offer solutions when things get too difficult to handle. Mental health in the professional arena is a constant changing area. The stigma is still there, but has been slowly removed from the view.
On the other side, I am happy and very supportive that Lozada has taken the first step to draw awareness with domestic violence. It is not an easy topic to discuss and more awareness needs to bought out. It is important that the stigma to removed from it as well. It is a topic that has been kept secret for way too long.
In closing, I would like to use a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
Until next time...