Doing the right thing pays off in the end

Curtis Powers

It’s a fitting way to end the summer term, writing a column about Iowa State football; I just can’t seem to get away from writing about sports.

First, it was about the potential conference realignment. Then, we had World Cup soccer as well as NBA reality TV.

Now, a star football player faces charges for the unauthorized use of a credit card. He is currently suspended from the team.

That’s not exactly something I was hoping to write about, or the momentum you were hoping for heading into for the start of football season. However, that’s where things stand as of right now.

It also remains unknown how long he will be suspended, which seems appropriate at this point. There is no need to rush judgment, as was recently illustrated in the Shirley Sherrod fiasco. It would seem wise for coach Paul Rhoads to gather facts, and let the legal process play out a little bit before coming to a decision.

Hopefully, justice prevails in the case, whether that means the player, David Sims, is found guilty or innocent. If found guilty, I hope he is punished accordingly. As a fan, you often hope the problem goes away so the athlete can play and help your team win.

Generally, you just want the coach to turn a blind eye and not suspend the player if he’s not in jail or going to jail. However, this kind of short term thinking, which I have been guilty of, is wrong. It hurts people over the long haul in life.

I remember a scenario like this from high school. There was a school trip to an exotic place during the summer. During the course of the trip, a few athletes engaged in illegal activities. Consequently, one of the athletes was caught while the other one was able to escape. Since they didn’t have hard evidence on the escapee, he was not punished.

One guy was kicked out of sports for his senior year. The other was able to play sports during his senior season.

The mom of the punished athlete told the mom of the other athlete’s mom about what happened so that she knew. The escaped athlete’s mom said she knew, but she didn’t want to ruin her son’s senior year.

Fast forward to college. The kid who escaped ran into legal issues a few times and was kicked out of the major university he was attending. I’m not sure where he is now.

The other kid is almost done at the four year school he’s attending.

So while not a direct case study of the issue, it illustrates the need for consequences for actions. Otherwise, it will eventually catch up to you later in life when things matter a little more.

There is one direct case study that shows the potential positive that can come out of doing what is right. Anyone remember George Mason’s run to the Final Four in men’s basketball a few years ago?

What you probably don’t remember was the decision their coach had to make before the tournament.

You see, in the final game they played before the NCAA tournament, their second best player, Tony Skinn, punched another player in the groin.

Their coach, Jim Larranaga, decided to suspend him one game when it would have been easy to overlook the offense because it could cost them in the tournament. Most experts thought, as a result, they would lose the Michigan State, but they didn’t and we know the story ended for them.

Doing the right thing doesn’t always mean things will turn out for the best in the short-term, but they generally will in the long-term.

Doing the right thing even when it’s hard, is one life lesson I hope everyone can learn.