Who Will Do Good?
Deciding To Do Good Is A Choice We All Make
by Eric Elkin
This past Sunday, the University of Maryland announced they were putting head football coach DJ Durkin on paid administrative leave. The decision was in response to the tragic death of offensive lineman, Jordan McNair. I assume releasing the news on a Sunday had more to do with damage control than spiritual penance.
On May 29th, Jordan had shown visible signs of distress during a workout. However, practices continued as usual. On June 13th, Jordan died of heatstroke. The first disciplinary action taken in response to the tragedy happened on Friday, August 10th, when three assistant coaches were put on administrative leave. A storm is brewing as media outlets focus on the cause of the accident and the school’s response.
According to a report by ESPN, several allegations by former players and unnamed sources focused on the director for sports performance, Rick Court. These sources felt Court contributed significantly to “an environment based on fear and intimidation, including throwing objects and small weights” when angry.
Court's actions stand in stark contrast to the philosophy of legendary football coach, John Gagliardi. Gagliardi, who coached 60 years at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN, was known for his unconventional coaching style. Some referred to it as “Winning with Nos.”
There was no tackling in his practices, no hitting blocking sleds and no football practice lasted longer than 90 minutes. He finished the winningest coach in college history, with multiple conference and national championships.
I Googled, “Do Good,” when reflecting on Psalm 34. The most prominent result was an initiative started by the University of Maryland called, The Do Good Institute. The institute intends to ensure every student who graduates from the school will be motivated to do good "in their communities and around the world.”
The Do Good Institute was the brainchild of Bruce and Karen Levenson. Levenson was the former owner of the Atlanta Hawks professional basketball team. When he sold the team, he and his wife wanted to grow leadership in the non-profit sector. They gifted $75 million to the University of Maryland to launch the Do Good project.
Today, on one side of the campus, a coaching staff is being paid millions of dollars to scream at young men and threaten their physical safety. On the other side of the same school, students gather leftover food from the dining halls and distribute them to shelters around town. I can’t think of better evidence on why we should listen to the psalmist, “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
Click to read Psalm 34: 9-14
- How effective is anger and intimidation in motivating you?
- Where do you feel pressure to be something you are not?
- When have you been blessed by a life-giving approach to leadership?
- Where can you Do Good today?