Sunday, December 29, 2013

What I Learned From Everett Golson-->Jerian Grant

If you are anything like me, you may have watched the past Notre Dame football season with one annoying question constantly looming in the back of your mind. How would this game be different if Everett Golson were playing? What would our record be if we had #5 as quarterback? Even during the final game of the season the Pinstripe Bowl, I heard an announcer say "with Golson the Irish offense has so many more options." I heralded his words as though they were my own rally cry. I know I shouldn't be thinking that way—get over it, right? But I couldn't shake those thoughts.
Returning to school in January!
In May 2013, Golson was no longer enrolled at the University of Notre Dame. I was disappointed with his official statement and aired my dismay in the blog posting "What Everett Golson Can Learn From Kyle McAlarney: It Can Be Different
It remains unclear exactly what the Notre Dame starting quarterback did that led to his dismissal from the University.  The only thing that is clear is that Golson used "poor academic judgement." Sportswriter and radio host, John Feinstein has said "the euphemisms need to stop."  Naming the act is an important step in taking accountability, admitting the mistake is critical for accepting responsibility and righting the wrong.  
University spokesman, Dennis Brown said "Federal law and our own polices preclude us from discussing specifics," but I wanted full disclosure. I echoed Feinstein's words time and again to fellow ND fans, believing Golson owed the truth to all of us. However, a thoughtful and potentially uncomfortable conversation with the Vice President and Senior Associate Provost for Budget and Planning, Chris Maziar made me reconsider. 

At the Play Like a Champion conference I attended this past summer, I happened to sit next to Maziar. She had just returned from a series of Universal Notre Dame Nights in various locations throughout the country and admitted how difficult they had been (UND Night is an event hosted by alumni chapters that bring someone from campus to give a "state of the union" address). Alumni had all kinds of questions, most especially those about the football program. 

I figured why stop now. I asked her why Golson never came clean about what he did. She said "it's probably embarrassing to him and frankly it's none of our business." With my empathy card at an all time low, I sat in silence. I thought to myself: He's embarrassed? what about us? Give me a break. I didn't know what to say. I thought about it and slowly but surely I realized, she is right. It is none of my business.

This comment may seem dated or old-fashioned. It is increasingly more difficult to understand what is and what is not our business today's world. With constant communication and media attention we think everything is our business; we are entitled to know it all, full disclosure for everyone! Nothing should be "back stage." It can and only must be "front stage." In the words of Ricky Watters "for who? for what?" For me Ricky, for me.

But that tension exists because I have come to understand that some things are not for me to know. I think some deeds ought to be kept private. That is not to say individuals and institutions are not to hold one responsible for what they do, but I do believe that we can hold people responsible in a respectful, dignified way. And that way may be in keeping some information guarded or private.
Not even going to pretend like this isn't a huge loss. Dang it.
This belief was put to the test when I read the sad news about Jerian Grant. On December 22, I read an official statement from the starting guard who was averaging a team-leading 19.0 ppg. Similar to Golson, Grant does not disclose what he did. He does however, write one of the most impressive apologies and public statements I have read in a long time. See for yourself.

This mindset has helps me understand similar tensions that exist between students and the school where I teach. It helps to recognize a generation gap may exist in the form of expectations and how we communicate. But it also helps to understand that wisdom comes from knowledge and experience with reflection, age and maturity. I ate my humble pie at dinner this past summer and it helped me take in the disappointing news about Grant in a new way.

I still wish things were different. I wish Golson hadn't make the choice(s) he did. I wish Grant had learned from Golson's mistake. I would love another 45 seconds of Jerian Grant. What is to be for Golson will unfold in the Fall of 2014 and for Grant in 2015. And whatever happens IS our business.

Photo Credits
None of your Business

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