Explaining Unsportsmanlike Behavior to Our Kids: NY Jets Coach Sal Alosi Trips Player During GameDanielle Sullivan
It was a bad game, and even the most diehard NY Jets fans will admit it. The Jets hadn’t scored a touchdown in two full games. They lost miserably to the New England Patriots last week and were losing the game against the rival Miami Dolphins last night, so you can imagine the disappointment. When our kids have disappointments on the field, we teach them to suck it up, maintain a cool head, and try their best, despite their age and maturity level to exhibit sportsmanship behavior. So what do we tell them when they hear that assistant coach Sal Alosi intentionally tripped Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll last night when it looked like they were losing another important game?
Carroll was running along the sidelines while covering a punt and fell down but was not injured. Alosi slyly leaned his knee outward just enough that would cause Carroll to stumble. With all the cameras around, it’s unlikely he thought he wouldn’t be pointed out. Maybe his need to win was just that urgent, that he didn’t stop to think.
“I made a mistake that showed a total lapse in judgment. My conduct was inexcusable and unsportsmanlike and does not reflect what this organization stands for,” Alosi said in a statement.
What will the kids think of this, especially the hoards of mini-Jets fans? More importantly, what will it teach them?
My son loves the Jets. He watched the game last night and saw them lose again. He was disappointed but also learning how you do, in fact, win some, lose some. He is just starting to become interested in watching football but was on his little league baseball team last year. One of the most difficult parts of the season was when his team lost. One boy would start to say it wasn’t fair, another would break into tears, and my son would get mad. So we tried our best to explain to him that he needed to realize that he wouldn’t win every time, sometimes he’d strike out, and even drop the ball. It was part of the game. He was there to have fun and improve his skills. Isn’t that how the professionals learned?
The NY Jets are debating what action, if any, they will take. I think something needs to be done. What kind of lapse in judgment allows a grown man and sports professional to exhibit such immature behavior? It goes against everything a sport is supposed to teach children: how to persevere, not give up and remain level-headed.
It looks like a new discussion is on the horizon for tonight. Hopefully, it will be about how people who make mistakes have to suffer the consequences because as much as sports is a business, it is also a family pastime that is kept going from the money received from the millions of families who are buying the tickets and supporting the team. Sports has an honor code and it’s about time the professional sports figures and organizations started honoring it.