Ethics Dunce: Washington Post Sportswriter Sally Jenkins

Here is all you really need to know. Tampa Bay Bucs star Antonio Brown refused to enter the game when so ordered during the third quarter of Sunday’s NFL game between the Bucs and New York Jets. Brown then stripped off his equipment and shirt before leaving the field. Jenkins says that the Bucs were cruel and unfair to fire him after the game, which is what they did. (Sort of.)

She writes in part,

For all of the NFL’s well-intentioned efforts on mental health, the Buccaneers have betrayed just how much of an archaic, body-commodifying, ranchers-and-cattle mentality can persist where decent human feeling should be. Was Brown not an asset and a “model citizen” for many months, as Arians said? Did he not help them win the Super Bowl last season? He caught 10 passes for his playoff-bound team just a week ago. Who on the Bucs didn’t know Brown had a tangled personality, demons stemming from indigence as a kid, that he had a pile of legal issues, trouble conforming and a penchant for self-sabotage?

It’s easy to be sympathetic to Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka or Michael Phelps for their mental health issues. Their struggles were largely invisible, their confessions soft-spoken. Not so much with Brown. In his case, he lives his crazy and his pain right out loud, in front of the cameras and social media, and it’s unnerving, unlikeable and in some instances perhaps inexcusable, from alleged sexual misconduct to refusing to pay debtors to faking a vaccine card. But the remarks of his teammates make it clear that they have deep affection for his best side and view much of his behavior as stemming from emotional unwellness….

It’s hard to think of another field in which so valuable an employee is so summarily cut loose when deemed broken or noncompliant. …Brown works harder than any man in the league to be uncoverable…His body fat is 3 percent. You don’t work that way because you don’t want to play to win or because you want to be an unreliable teammate. In no other profession do employers demand such devotion and repay it with so little loyalty and deem people so disposable.

I wish I could say it’s rare to see a sports columns so flamingly wrong in so many ways, but that’s not true, unfortunately. But wow: Jenkins is in ethics dunce Hall of Fame territory…

1. I’d like Sally Jenkins to try refusing an assignment for her paper and then stripping off her clothes in the Post offices. This conduct will get almost anyone fired in almost any business, profession or industry, and should…especially on a professional sports team. Once a team has tolerated such conduct from one player, team discipline is impossible. Indeed, simply refusing to play when the coach says so alone is ground for termination. The stripping is just added provocation.

2. Jenkins is literally arguing for The King’s Pass. Brown should get away with his tantrum because he’s just so darn good.

3. Then she casually throws in references to Brown’s other misconduct: alleged sexual misconduct…refusing to pay debtors…faking a vaccine card.” Those are properly arguments for why he should have been fired before his meltdown, and she is using them as reasons to pander to his eccentricities. In for a penny, in for a pound!

4. I’m not sympathetic to either Simone Biles or Naomi Osaka, as Ethics Alarms has made quite clear. Both of them demanded special treatment because they are super-stars, which is exactly what Jenkins is arguing Brown deserves.

The encouraging news is that the Washington Post readers appear to overwhelmingly reject Jenkins’ arguments. One writes, “…[W]hen an employee walks off the job—in the middle of performing a job that his colleagues and employer are relying on him to perform—I don’t know of any employer in any field that would run after such an employee to bring him back and risk the same results happening again.” Another says, “Sorry Sally but Brown is an entitled spoiled millionaire who has been a cancer in every locker room he has been in. There is absolutely no reason for a professional athlete to conduct himself in the manner Brown did.” And another:  “I for one am very tired of all this liberal BS about how organizations like the NFL are effectively modern plantations, where the “workers” have no rights and no autonomy. Brown could have retired years ago with tens of millions of dollars in the bank, and he CHOSE not to. It is likely that he has some mental health issues, and I sympathize. There is no question in my mind that all the teams he has worked for offer help in this regard, and he has chosen not to take it.”

Bingo…Bingo…and Bingo.

9 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Washington Post Sportswriter Sally Jenkins

  1. The bad news is that we’re probably going to have to endure a lot of race-based bullshit from this guy. The good news is that he will make Krappernick old news.

  2. When I worked in a blue collar field, I can assure you that there was a strong “ranchers and cattle mentality”. Ranchers don’t get to rest until the cattle are taken care of. Workers don’t get to rest until the job’s done, or at least able to be handed off to the next crew. If you are having mental health issues, handle it on your own time, not the time purchased by the company.

    When will this attitude with Simone and Naomi and Antonio infect the rest of society?

    • Not any time soon. It’s called “The Great Resignation.” It’s all the rage. Everyone’s wanting to be more fulfilled and freeing themselves from the burden of work. Imagine. Prince Harry is a big advocate for people to quit work. Soon, the government will pay everyone not to work.

        • So you are saying we are already fully there.

          Thanks Mr. OB, I’m not sure I needed that depressing revelation.

          Joking aside, I’m afraid of what will follow if you are correct (which you very well may be). Of course, why wouldn’t Prince “Didn’t We Fight a War Two Centuries Ago So I Don’t Have to Listen to Idiots Like You” Harry think that everyone can not work and get paid. That’s all he’s ever done. I swear it seems like most folks of my age and younger (reluctantly millennial) don’t understand that food doesn’t magically come from grocery stores, electricity isn’t magically produced by the light socket, etc. SOMEBODY has to make that happen.

          • I’ve seen AOC, or Sandy Cortez, as Tucker Carlson prefers to refer to her, quoted as literally saying there’s no problem with funding government programs because, and I am not making this up, “all we have to do is print more money.” And she allegedly has an economics degree from Boston University. Truly, truly astounding.

  3. The guy’s clearly a one-man wrecking crew and has been his entire life. But he’s a hell of a ball player, and that’s what the NFL trades in. I’m not sure you have to be crazy to want to play football, but I’m sure it helps.

    • I wonder how many times he’s been concussed. I think guys I knew in high school were affected by CTE from having played youth league and high school football. I’m not sure they were always crazy, but I think football at a young age made them crazy. But the coaches loved them. You can’t coach psycho but you need a lot of them on your football team if you want to win.

  4. I just caught this clause (I couldn’t stand to read her piece, but saw this part quoted at Althouse): “For all of the NFL’s well-intentioned efforts on mental health.” Hah! And what would those be, Sally? Employ guys who have spent the previous probably ten years bashing each other’s brains out in youth football, high school and college, to bash their brains out even more significantly for three or ten or fifteen more years? Those well-intentioned efforts on mental health?”

    I assume Sally Jenkins is Dan Jenkins’s daughter. Nice little family business you inherited there, Sal. Gotta keep cheering on the NFL like Daddy did, eh? Good for business.

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