Accountability and the NFL

Work rules are weird.  We talk a lot about culture, but rarely go after behaviors that build the wrong kind of culture.  Especially if those behaviors are perpetrated by high performers.  Have a sales manager who is killing his number, but close to 100% turnover in the process?  Maybe you overlook the damage he does to the “ditch diggers” on the way to higher revenue.  A high performing executive that verbally abuses his assistant in front of others?  Unless a lawsuit is coming your way, you might let it slide.  We all know the stories.  So it is nice when someone publicly holds a star accountable for their actions.  When it is a pro sports team, it’s that much more interesting.  From ESPN:

[DeSean] Jackson won’t play after he missed a team meeting on Saturday morning, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl pick, is the [Philadelphia Eagle’s] second-leading receiver with 29 catches for 503 yards and two touchdowns this season. Jackson had 110 catches for 2,223 yards and 15 TDs as a receiver the last two years and already owns the franchise record with four punt returns for scores.

There is some dispute over the benching.  His agent claims it is part of contract negotiations.  The team says this was the “final straw” in a series of behaviors.  Whatever the case, the Eagles were without one of their top players, and lost another in Jeremy Maclin to an injury early in the game.  Maclin came back, but the Eagles lost to Arizona 21-17.

How much have you put up with from a star player?  Or a borderline player, for that matter.  If you don’t hold people accountable, you can’t protect your culture.  And that, in itself, will build the culture for you.  Just not the one you are probably looking for.


  1. I’m glad Andy Reid did this, I don’t know if you keeping up with the Peyton Hillis, yeah Hillis not Manning, mess in Cleveland. Last year’s hot thing running back, made the Madden Cover, well he wants a new contract. So instead of playing through like Matt Forte of Bears who too wants a contract but has been playing his butt off, Hillis has been griping and complaining and even sat out a day because of a sore throat. A sore throat, what kind of NFL player misses a game for a sore throat. Well turns out he admitted he could have played but didn’t on advice of his agent. Since then the Browns have used him less and less and the word is he will be released at the end of the season, with low number, shopping for a new deal. Good luck with that. So I’m glad Andy set the tone.

    • Indeed. I’ve never had much respect for a player who doesn’t play out their contract. Want a new deal? Earn it. You’ll get paid. Signed a contract then outperformed? Sorry. You wanted the security of a multi-year deal, now honor it. Bound under rules to less than you are worth? So is everyone else. Talk to your union rep, but be a grown up and play the game.

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