Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Why does there have to be a bad guy? Why does there have to be a villain? Why is there a need to blame anybody?  Why does this have to be anybody’s fault?

This is a very dark side of human nature, and social media is gobbling the remaining light like a galactic black hole.

Here’s what happened. A wonderful young man suffered an immediately life-threatening injury in what can only be described as a freak accident. This particular injury occurs fewer than 30 times per year in the United States, and its statistical relationship to the sport of football is essentially zero. It is an injury most often seen in Little League baseball, hockey and lacrosse. A sharp and sudden blow from a hard projectile in just the wrong place at just the wrong instant can stun the heart into cardiac arrest.

Here’s what happened then. A large and very talented medical team put into place through meticulous planning by the NFL—as is present at every NFL game—took less than ten seconds to begin life-saving CPR. Damar Hamlin is alive because of that team, and because of that NFL planning. Let me state that again. Damar Hamlin is alive because of that team, and because of that NFL planning.

This was an unprecedented event. And everyone in the loop did their jobs. Everyone. As tragic as this scenario was, human skill, training and compassion were on display throughout.

It was quickly apparent that the game had to be postponed, and exactly NO ONE disagreed. Players and coaches knew that the game would not be resumed. The public announcement of the postponement was handled smoothly, professionally and in a timely manner. You have to make sure all stadium security is in place. You have to have a plan for an unexpected egress from the stadium. You have to have your traffic infrastructure ready to go at an unexpected time. You have to at least be ready to treat emotionally distraught fans and/or players. You have to at all times place the safety of Damar Hamlin and his family as your top priority and objective. You have to inform (not ask permission from) your broadcast partners to let them know what is going on.

This is not like flipping a switch. Delay? Are you kidding? This was all handled remarkably efficiently.

The players, coaches were quickly assured by league officials that there would be no more football. What difference did it make that the league held off on the official public announcement of the postponement until all of the above issues had been addressed? This wasn’t about you. Or me.

There are no bad guys here. In fact, there are heroes everywhere you look. Damar himself, who is clearly fighting gallantly. Damar’s mom and uncle. The Buffalo Bills. The Cincinnati Bengals. Fans of both teams, who immediately came together in love for this good young man. The NFL medical team at the stadium. The medical team at the Cincinnati hospital.

Players from both teams are PRAISING the NFL for the sensitive way this frightening tragedy was handled, as is Damar’s family.

But you have to have somebody to blame, right?

That’s on you, and reflects poorly on both your humanity and your intelligence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.