Being a Successful Jerk

Lots of storylines for this year’s Super Bowl. Enough to keep the sports punditry industry happy for the next few weeks. I’m sure the incident that prompted this post — Bill Belichick blowing off the post-game interview — will soon be forgotten.

I have to note, though, that one of the things sports supposedly teaches is sportsmanship. Last time I checked, sportsmanship includes being gracious in both victory and defeat. And that includes crusty old curmudgeons like Belichick.

Most people will probably give Belichick a pass. Why? Because he’s successful. If he was both a bad coach AND a jerk, people would be less likely to forgive. But, since he’s obviously a great coach, the public tends to overlook his jerkness.

Not Shannon Sharpe. He called out Belichick after the game, calling his behavior “unacceptable.” Guess what? I agree. If you’re going to hold a leadership position, you take the good with the bad and you deal with defeat. Even if someone is being rude, you manage yourself appropriately.

Belichick is a great coach. He is probably a warm human being in certain circumstances. He is effective at what he does and does not suffer fools gladly.

But that doesn’t give him a pass to be a jerk in defeat.