Published on: May 3, 2016by Michael Sansolo
In hopes that one person’s misery can be a teaching moment for others, we all have to give thanks to a football player named Laremy Tunsil.
If nothing else, a lot of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers can look at what happened to Tunsil and be grateful we were all adolescents before the advent of smartphones and social media. The simple truth is we all probably did stupid things when we were younger and luckily escaped both injury and YouTube.
Tunsil, not so much.
If you haven’t heard of Tunsil (and I hadn’t before this past weekend), he is a very good college football player who was expected to be one of the first chosen in the annual National Football League (NFL) draft. That is, until modern problems intervened.
Just prior to the nationally televised draft, a video surfaced on Tunsil’s own - and apparently hacked - social media account showing him enjoying marijuana through a bong attached to a gas mask. Sadly for Tunsil, he removed the mask at one point, leaving no doubt that he was the person in the video.
This indiscretion upset people in the NFL and resulted in 12 teams passing on him before he finally was chosen by Miami Dolphins. Tunsil clearly was upset with by how events unfolded, and commentators suggested that the video could cost Tunsil million of dollars in his first contract.
Welcome to the new world, where nothing goes unseen.
There are countless lessons from this incident, starting with the player’s behavior. Had he done nothing wrong there would never have been a video.
But let’s be honest: few of us live completely pure lives and the reality today is that any indiscretion can end up somewhere on the Internet. And once there, it lives forever.
That’s a harsh truth for everyone, not just job seekers. More than ever we live in a world of transparency where any action or statement can come back to haunt us.
Think about it: disparage a customer of any kind and a recording or photo may unravel what you do. Likewise, we’ve seen business leaders and politicians (among others) face storms of criticisms when comments they thought they were making privately contradicted what they said publicly.
In many ways, Tunsil is lucky. He’s blessed with physical skills and a chosen profession where his misconduct is hardly the worst anyone has seen. If he is as fast and strong as everyone expects him to be, Tunsil may well have a long and lucrative professional football career.
The rest of us don’t live in that world, though. If we say or do the wrong thing, it can deliver a death blow to our careers and businesses.
Perhaps its time to have team meetings to watch the George Clooney-Brad Pitt version of Ocean’s Eleven. Much of the denouement of this stylish caper film hinges on the notion that in a Las Vegas casino, somebody always is watching.
Vegas, it seems, is just like life these days. Someone always is watching. And while what happens in Vegas supposedly stays in Vegas, that isn't true anywhere else.
Just ask Laremy Tunsil.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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