On April 4, two men made headlines. When interviewed, Jarrett Grace, a Notre Dame linebacker, said he learned from Manti Te’o, a former ND linebacker, the value of hard work on the field and in the film room. Grace said Te’o was his mentor who set a high standard for himself and everyone around him.
Because Grace chose to follow Te’o’s high standard he will be a better husband and the kind of father who will instill his standard for living in his children. Grace’s success in life will go far beyond the football field.
The second man who made headlines was Mike Rice. He was Rutgers University’s men’s basketball coach until he was fired April 3 for “firing basketballs at players from close range, aggressively shoving and grabbing players and verbally assaulting them with homophobic slurs and profanity.”
Rice said he was sorry he had let so many people at the university down, including Athletic Director Tim Pernetti who resigned. As for his family, Rice said, “They are sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact that their father was an embarrassment to them.” Of course Rice is sorry. He got caught and will have to pay the penalty.
Rice is a bully who wanted to feel the power his position gave him. One player said Rice had treated him aggressively, but he didn’t mind because he was trying to make them better players. If that’s the case, that player and others will treat their children the same way in the mistaken belief that they will be become better people.
We all need to be better stewards of our impressionable children. But most importantly, our leaders in the sports field need to set a higher standards for their own behavior.
— Roberta Leonard