Cicero made the claim that "gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others." During this season of giving, nothing is more true. But he lived before Christ and a common question that we ask in the ethics course I teach is "what difference does Christ make to the good?" And so, it is interesting to teach and learn what virtues are truly Christian virtues. For example, humility was not considered to be a "good moral habit" to the Greeks, but Jesus modeled humility to His death. St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic Church's greatest theologian and philosopher said prudence, not gratitude is the queen of all virtues. "Through its exercise we acquire the moral knowledge necessary to form all other actions into virtues." Prudence, in addition to temperance, justice and fortitude is also a cardinal virtue. These four are called "cardinal" virtues from the Latin word for "hinge." In the Catholic faith tradition, all other virtues, like patience, generosity, kindness, etc. "hinge" on them. Unlike the theological virtues, which are gifts of God through grace, the cardinal virtues can be practiced by anyone. Singletary was fired on the flight home from St. Louis to San Francisco. The man lost his job of two years before the plane even touched ground. Just as ending a long term relationship is painfully difficult, I do not doubt that this was a tough thing for Jed York to do. I do however wonder if firing him after what was already an upsetting loss (the 49ers will not play in the post season) was prudent. Am I raising a fair question?I don't think there is ever the appropriate or "right" time to fire someone, especially a human being like Mike Singletary. I firmly believe Singletary is a virtuous man. My God, the Singletary family even has a mission statement (former posting)!
He was not fired because of off field behavior or questions about what he represents. No one will question his character, his resolve and love for the game. To this day, I harbor resentment against Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for the way he fired Norv Turner back in 2000. Following a bitter loss to the New York Giants, Snyder had Turner wait outside his office for close to four hours before he opened his door to meet with him. Four hours!?
The Catechsim of the Catholic church states "the prudent man looks where he is going." Clearly this is untrue for Snyder. Turner's life and livelihood were on the line. To treat another person in the way that Snyder did lacks prudence, and the other three cardinal virtues for that matter. (no wonder he was named "Sports Jerk of the Year" by the “Tank McNamara” comic strip)
I wish Singletary had been able to finish the 2010 season with the Niners. Even one week from today, I am sure the "49er Faithful" would still find it necessary for him to go, but it would allow this organization to act like the "winners" Singletary was famous for wanting. Good luck Coach Singletary. Your remarks, though prepared, reflect exactly who you are.