TOTAL DISCLAIMER: I'm a Cowboys & somewhat Ravens fan so it brings me joy to know the Giants lost in their playoff match up against the Packers.
I also want to give you my working definition of the word "gossip" and why I am not doing it in the blog: I really try not to say anything ABOUT someone I wouldn't have the courage to say TO someone. So if the subjects of this blog actually read this blog - hey, stranger things have happened... - I would say this directly to them.
Odell Beckham Jr. is a wide receiver for the New York Football Giants along with Victor Cruz. To try to keep this blog short and to the point, ODJ and fellow teammates like Victor Cruz used their off-day to travel to Miami the week of their playoff game. They took pictures of themselves, shirtless on a boat, were seen in a nightclub with the Biebs of all people, and (I'm guessing) had a wonderful time away from football and other teammates which included QB Eli Manning.
Unfortunately for them 6 days later, the Giants lost. OBJ had some key dropped passes, including a touchdown pass, and he had an abysmal day of work. Other receivers did not play well either, dropped key passes and generally made offense very difficult for their QB Manning who (I don't remember if I mentioned) did not go on the boat.
Super Bowl winning WR Victor Cruz was also in Miami, I suppose in the picture above. I know he went according to published reports but I've never seen him with his shirt off. So I suppose he's one of the guys above, posing as if this is a rap video for DJ Khalid or something...("We make the best music!!")
I have compassion for today's athletes. They have a lot of money, they are growing up in front of the world, every mistake and statement lives forever. But here's the leadership lesson for today:
People won't care what you know until they know that you care. To that end, one must SHOW they care, MODEL they care, DEMONSTRATE they care.
Does going to Miami contribute to you having a bad game? Of course not, at least in this case. But the problem is OBJ is the best player on his team. That makes him an influencer of others. He is by default the leader in this case. If you as a leader contribute to the perception Miami is more important than your job of football - wrongly or rightly - people will assume - wrongly or rightly - you are not leading well. Every leader will have their leadership questioned. It happens to me all the time; it comes with the gig. I don't mind that. But I try to be aware of any action I perform that may give the perception I'm not with my team. As I gain experiences and lead more people, my spidey sense is heightened so I make less mistakes of perception. I had a mentor get with me early on in my leadership career to make me aware of such things.
Which brings me to Victor Cruz.
Mr. Cruz, respectfully written, you are a super bowl champ, you're older than your fellow receivers and your super bowl winning QB didn't go to Miami. My question is two-fold: Why did you go and WHY DIDN'T YOU DISCOURAGE THEM FROM GOING? You know what it takes to be a champion. You know what level of concentration it takes to win. More importantly you know, especially in New York, what's going to happen if you lose and you give the perception you were ANYWHERE other than the film room.
OBJ needs to be aware of the perception of such actions in the future. Victor Cruz should value mentoring young teammates on how to navigate the treacherous waters of perceptions becoming the rule. And they should follow the lead of their QB Manning:
stay off the boat. It gives people the wrong impression of you.
Just don't get on the boat if it's going to give people the perception you'd rather be that than one of them. Lead your people by being one of them. Give them the right impression. Work like they do. Stay focused. They'll be plenty of time to take your shirt off...