In last weeks #ELBlog, I wrote that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Yet what happens when you make a mistake or a slip of the tongue? We’re all human and we all make mistakes. The older I get the greater my filter gets.
I was trained by some great referees in my former world of officiating. They taught me that silence cannot be misinterpreted, and if you’re not sure what to say, don’t say anything. So my filter got upgraded pretty quickly. Yet mistakes do happen. Things do slip out, and sometimes we do say the wrong thing. So, what do we do when that happens? We own it. We apologize. We acknowledge it. We don’t try to cover it up or make excuses.
In early January, John Beilein, the coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a film session with his players, said they were acting like “thugs”. He had meant to say slugs but accidentally used the word thugs. What is their bias behind that comment? Did he really mean that towards one or more of his players? These are unknown but what I do know is that John Beilein is a classy guy. In a lifelong career of coaching at the college level, including getting to the final four, Beilein has never been in the spotlight or in the headlines for negative comments. He has always been someone well respected in the profession, so I tend to lean towards the thought that this was an honest error. But it’s not necessarily the comment that he made, it what he did afterward. John Beilein, in my opinion, as a true professional owned it. He admitted it, fixed it, and moved on.
The next day in a private session with his players he gave a heartfelt, in-person, authentic apology. To me, it shows that it was an honest mistake, and his players have forgiven him. The news cycle has moved on and so will John Beilein and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Instead of igniting a small fire with gasoline, Beilein owned the comments, and in the spirit of “admit it, fix it, and move on,” he did just that.
I’ve always admired Coach Beilein and this is just another example that no one is perfect, and when you do make a mistake admit it, fix it, and move on. Continue to go out and do great work in your schools and community.
Quote: “Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to error that counts”
– Nikki Giovanni”