Win or lose, a champion carries himself with discipline and self-control.
You don’t have to learn that the hard way. Learn from the lesson of LeGarrette Blount. The
suspended Oregon running back not only suffered the worst game of his football career (minus-5
yards), but he also drastically changed the course of his life in a matter of minutes.
As a junior transfer to Oregon in 2008, Blount had a school-record 17 rushing touchdowns and
NFL attention with another year of college eligibility left. On opening day of the 2009 season, he
seemed to have the world at his feet. That didn’t seem so true later that night. Blount’s story is that
one decision can be all it takes to change your life.
Here’s quick recap of those three minutes or so when a loss of self-control changed everything:
– Time expired with Boise State up 19-8 over visiting Oregon.
– Boise State’s Byron Hout made a comment to Blount about a recent death in his family.
– Blount dropped Hout to his hands and knees with a hard right jab to the chin.
– Blount lost his composure to the point that it took several teammates, security personnel, plus an
Oregon assistant coach to direct him off the field.
– By the time they reached the tunnel to the locker rooms, replays of the punch were shown on the
big screen in the stadium.
– A fan near the tunnel made a racist comment to the already angry Blount, who then had to be
restrained by those between him and the fan.
Blount later said it himself, he lost his head. What we’ve learned since then is that loss of self-
control will cost him dearly. Doesn’t matter who started it. Doesn’t matter how ugly the taunts
were. Minus-5 yards in a season-opening loss, and no chance to redeem himself. LeGarrette
Blount’s season is over after a single game. The cause for his suspension likely won’t qualify him
for redshirt status from the NCAA.
No two ways about it, football is a game of controlled emotion. In other words, discipline. Doesn’t
matter how good you are — MVP, college recruit, NFL prospect. As a football player, you can’t
afford the consequences of gambling with that control. Not yours, your teammates or your
Play the game with emotion, the saying goes, but don’t let your emotions play you.
A penalty, a turnover or an injury could hit your team at any time. As a football player, you have to
control what you can control.
– Your preparation
– Your choices
– And your emotions.
Controlling your emotions doesn’t stop at whether or not you throw a punch. There’s no good in
toying with an opponent’s control even if you think nobody’s watching. Look no further than Boise
State’s Byron Hout to see the position you could find yourself in just for running your mouth.
Hout is a 240-pound scholarship defensive end, who reportedly talked trash to Blount about the
recent death of one of his relatives.
It’s a lose-lose situation. Both players did lasting damage to their reputations, their teams and the
game of football. Blount’s season ended early, just one game in. Hout got his bell rung on national
TV, and suffered some other consequences that Boise State kept confidential.
You don’t have to learn the hard way by damaging your own career. Learn from the lesson of