Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘NFL

How can you tell if players are witholding and may have issues in their personal lives or team-related issues they aren’t addressing? Wide receivers drop passes that hit them in the numbers, or if they catch the pass they fumble the ball when tackled. Quarterbacks throw interceptions and are not able to see receivers who are open. Defensive players are missing tackles and not being aggressive. When a team isn’t motivated, the only way they can become motivated is by sharing their personal problems and issues with others, especially their teammates. If you want to help your team start winning, you might suggest to the team’s head coach, in a very gentle way, that he hire someone to conduct individual private sessions…with the offensive unit, the defensive unit, and special teams. There should be no coaches present. This would provide players with the opportunity to get things off their chest and clear the air, and when that happens they’ll begin to feel better about themselves and will begin performing at a higher level. And the meetings should take place weekly.

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Not at all. People who are angry and are saying the players are being disrespectful know better. But they have negative beliefs about blacks and hispanics and by saying the players are being disrespectful they are merely tapping into their own belief systems. They know the players are only attempting to bring attention to the way in which people of color are being treated in this country in our criminal justice system. That the players are attempting to bring attention to the fact that people of color in this country often live in low sub-standard (and unsafe) housing, that they have a difficult time achieving a college education, that young black and hispanic children are not receiving the pre-school education that white children are receiving putting them at a disadvantage when they enter the public school system, and they are attempting to bring attention to the fact that many young black and hispanic children’s lives are at risk when they live in the inner-city. It’s time our federal government did something about this and allocate a huge budget to fix what needs fixing. And I’m not talking about a hand-out. The people of color I know want to work and earn their own way. Most white politicians serving in Washington over the past fifty years should be ashamed of themselves for not having done more to help America’s black and hispanic communities become more independent and enter the middle class. That’s why the NFL players are taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.

A few days ago I read in the newspaper the amounts of money the NFL owners contributed to Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and frankly, it made me ill. It’s a good example of how the NFL corporate entities often look the other way when financially helping someone who could potentially help their franchises. To them, it’s all about the bottom line. NFL owners always maintain they help their players, many of whom are black, but in reality, they go with the flo where their investment will bring them the best return. It isn’t about doing the right thing but rather doing what generates the most profit for them. Just look at how they fought the concussion research findings, which they thought might put them out of business. But the fact is, the only people who can put them out of business are the owners themselves. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job. I don’t think I’ll ever attend or watch an NFL game again.

While watching the Chiefs-Patriots game on tv this evening I noticed an ad for Crown Royal and it reminded me of an interview I conducted with former NFL player Dr. Tommy Burnett. Dr. Burnett has spent more than 40 years as a professor at Missouri State University. He has a PhD in Sport Psychology and is also an expert in Sports Law and Risk Management. He told me that based on his experience and knowledge, he’s found that the consumption of alcohol interferes with an athlete’s oxygen supply making him or her more susceptible to injury. Here’s how it works: The consumption of alcohol interferes with the transportation of oxygen to the body’s muscle cells and is not being delivered to the ligaments and tendons. When the muscle fibers are deprived of oxygen, the athlete is more prone to injuries. This is pretty common knowledge among personal trainers who work on college and professional athletes but it’s a fact often hidden from public view since there is a close association of the marketing of alcoholic beverages (ala Crown Royal) and sports, especially professional sports. So when you read where an athlete is experiencing muscle and ligament problems, there’s a possibility that particular athlete is consuming a substantial amount of alcohol in his or her personal life.

Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for six games and joins other NFL players who have also been suspended in the past for physically abusing their wives and girlfriends. This group includes Baltimore running back Ray Rice, Jets receiver Quincy Enunwa, and former Giants kicker Josh Brown.

Though I haven’t seen the research I would bet they all have a number of things in common: When they were growing up and began showing extraordinary talent, coaches looked the other way when they got into trouble rather than disciplining them. The result was they developed a feeling of entitlement. They seldom shared their emotions and problems with others preferring to keep them bottled up inside themselves. They seldom cried because they were taught at an early age that it’s not “manly” to cry. Later in life when these young men developed relationships with young women and became frustrated they were unable to control their emotions, resulting in physical abuse. And this is why the NFL often requires them to take courses in anger management.

I’m not sure what these courses involve but I’ve learned from experience when you put these young men in support group environments and allow them to talk about their personal issues and problems with their peers, it’s much more effective than one-on-one counseling. You diffuse their anger resulting in much healthier athletes, psychologically. The result is they are less likely to physically abuse their wives and girlfriends.


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