Roger Clemens. Marion Jones. Pete Rose. Almost daily in the sport headlines we read about scandals with today’s and yesterday’s biggest athletes whose bad decisions have ruined their lives.
We watch them go too far and risk it all to be the best at their sport.
We see some of the best self-destruct after making choices that compromised their careers and families and — ultimately themselves.
Recently on The Big E Sports Radio Show on Fox Sports Radio, we dedicated an entire show to the topic of cheating and the profound impact it is having on our society.
I interviewed “Basketball Bill” Chaffin, a well-known motivational speaker. His new book, “NOTHING BUT NET — Living With Integrity Is Your Best Shot,” deals specifically with how to live with integrity and avoid the deadly moral and ethical mistakes many athletes, celebrities and leaders make almost daily.
EWC: Let’s start out by talking about the importance of integrity. Many folks think it’s really not a big deal to tell a little white lie or half-truth — or even take illegal substances to help them win. Share with us why living with integrity is important.
BC: It’s crucial because long-term success swings on the hinges of integrity. Integrity will stand the test of time and survive the very closest scrutiny. Integrity gives you a clear conscience — so when you sleep you can have a clear conscience, and when you’re awake you can have a clear conscience. John Wooden, the legendary coach of the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program says, “Talent will take you to the top — but it will take character to keep you there.”
EWC: The great John Wooden is such a strong example of an excellent role model, especially for our young people, right?
BC: Yes! And the one thing that I was so impressed with by John Wooden is that he encouraged his players to see the value of getting their education — the foundation of their future. Did you know that his players stayed in college for four years? If they had a good freshman year, they did not come out early to the NBA because of the big money. He also talked about the value of being a consummate team player — a player who elevates the performance of everyone around him. There is no limit to what can be done as a team if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit. John Wooden built young men not just for the game of basketball but for the “game of life.”
EWC: What advice would you share with parents on how to raise their kids to be persons of integrity?
BC: That is an excellent question! Parents often send out mixed signals in their daily lives. They say one thing and then do another. As I’ve traveled across America, teenagers tell me they are sick and tired of explanations. They want to see real role models in moms and dads who live out what they talk about — so they can follow their worthy role-modeling. Unfortunately, that is not happening often enough.
EWC: You have a direct message for our parents. What about a direct message for our youth? Any golden nuggets to share?
BC: Walt Disney said, “If you have a dream, you can do it.” Plant a dream and watch it grow. Don’t make your victories too easy. It is fun to do and accomplish what others say is impossible. When you play by the ground rules that every sport has, you will be rewarded. A lot of young people want to be above the rules and not play by the boundaries of the system. They think they’re above the rules because they’re a superstar athlete. They’re in for a rude awakening if they do anything to compromise their integrity. It will ultimately create moral tremors. Those tremors are warnings and if the warnings are not heeded, something devastating will happen. Many times the greatest pain is self-inflicted pain.
EWC: Bill, your new book, “NOTHING BUT NET — Living With Integrity Is Your Best Shot,” has many great messages. One is a specific message for dads and their role.
BC: To be honest, a lot of men just go through the motions of being a dad. They may be emotionally and often physically absent. Many dads are wandering without goals. I tell dads that if they want to be a hero to their kids, they need to be a dad of prayer. If your kids walk into your den in the morning and see you reading the Word and down on your knees and they hear you mentioning their names, it sends a powerful message. Be a dad of integrity. Be a dad of purpose and perseverance, a protector and a provider. Be a dad who praises and plays with his family. If a dad embraces the things I mentioned, he will take his fatherhood to a whole new level. He will in fact become a hero to his wife and children.
Be sure to tune into Elissa Walker Campbell’s weekly sports talk radio magazine program on Fox Sports Radio 1460 AM KCLE from 11 a.m. to noon Saturdays. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thebigesportsshow.com.