As the President of FootballScoop I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with thousands of coaches over the past decade.
Far and away, most of the men I’ve met love what they do. They love to compete, they love to spend time coaching ball and they love to work with young men to help them improve their lives.
With over 15,000 football-playing high schools and over 600 college programs, there are well over 50,000 men (and some women) who coach football players between the ages of 15 and 25 — some of the most formidable years of a young man’s life. There will be outliers in any sample of 50,000 people, but largely the coaches I’ve met and spent time with are in it for the right reasons.
With that said, our country and the entire world is dealing with a health pandemic while also engaging in a meaningful and clearly necessary discussion about race relations.
Football is a game; but the impact the leaders of the game can have is significant; and by leaders of the game I include the athletes, their coaches and those who oversee the sport.
In today’s world, everything is national (and has the potential to go worldwide very easily & incredibly quickly). Leaders’ voices (and actions) can and should be seen by many; and we should all seek to use our voices for good.
While tweeting and sharing videos can be incredibly powerful; more often than not true change comes from a conversion of heart. True change happens through conversation, through love, through actions.
Over the past month I’ve communicated back and forth with countless coaches and my consistent advice to them has been to reach out to your players, ensure they know they are loved and respected. Listen to them. If they have concerns about anything, discuss them and then work towards solutions.
Life is about always working towards becoming the best version of yourself. If you messed up today, address that and get better. Together we can make the world a better place.
Last night, Oklahoma State star running back Chuba Hubbard and head coach Mike Gundy shared a video for their community (and truly all of us) to see and to learn from. The video was a powerful statement from both men.
Change is coming I promise you that. pic.twitter.com/wTGHtByh3N
— Chuba Hubbard (@Hubbard_RMN) June 15, 2020
When Chuba and Gundy released that video a lot of people were saying there was no need for Chuba to have said he shouldn’t have tweeted before speaking with Gundy.
In my opinion (and its ok if you don’t share my opinion), Gundy should have been working to foster an environment where every player felt they could come to their coaches if they had any concerns. This is exactly the time for coaches to be even more present, and more supportive of their players.
As coaches we need to show the players we care about them (more through our actions than through our words). To show them we want to help them reach their full potential and are willing to put in the work with them to achieve their goals. To help them grow on and off the field.
Times like now are exactly why we coach.
Update> This morning Chuba tweeted the following. Good things happen when you listen to one another and put in the work to make things better.
I just want to say thank you to everyone for the support. I will start by saying this: I was never wrong for saying what I said. I am a man, and I realized I should have went to him as a man face to face rather than on Twitter. That’s my opinion. But I had to hold him accountable either way. I am glad things happened the way they did because things are being changed as we speak!
If anyone truly knows me, they know I am a very passionate person. I care about family, friends, teammates, and people I don’t even know. I spoke out because I am emotionally drained and I’m tired of seeing stuff happening without results or consequences. I realize I have a platform to generate change and I am trying my best to use it accordingly.
I am a young black man that wants change. I want change that will bring a better experience for my black brothers and sisters at Oklahoma State. It’s that simple. Over these next few months I have left at Oklahoma State, I will be working EVERYDAY to bring change to this organization and to the world. I will be supported by my teammates along with people within this organization.
To everyone else, trust me when I say that good will come from this.
Gundy met with his team. Listened. Is apologizing and working towards solutions.
— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) June 16, 2020