Mike Lockley of the NFL’s Jaguars and Ndamukong Suh of the NFL’s Lions both found themselves $20,000 in the hole for preseason misconduct – Lockley due to an illegal tackle. The difference? Suh plays in the prime-time and his first week’s salary will total over $20,000. His fine – a slap on the wrist. It comparison, Lockley’s salary is much lower because he was pushed down to the practice squad. It will take him about two months to pay off the fine. I can hear the author who described this scenario in his article now: How unfair (Smith, 2011)!
But really??? Come on, Lockley is – excuse the pun – definitely no Robin Hood. I’m pretty sure that if you tried to take out the guy in the cubical across the hall, you’d be out on your rump.
So why do instances like this only result in a fine? It fits the unspoken norms of sports (Levi, 2011). If your son misbehaves in class or acts too aggressively, put him in sports. Sports are seen as an appropriate outlet for anger and aggression. And if sports channel these emotions, the governing body has to be ready to deal with cases when the aggression sneaks out. This same norm does not exist in business. Employees are to be orderly, show up at 8, leave at 5, and not leave spilled coffee in the break room. There’s no room for shenanigans there. In my opinion, Lockley and Suh are lucky, because if their office was anywhere besides the field, they wouldn’t have a job to go back to. But this story also has an important lesson for consultants – be adaptable, because one venue you work in might put up with much more from its employees than another.
Levi, D. (2011). Team beginnings. Group dynamics for teams (3rd ed.) (pp. 38-56). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Smith, M. D. (2011, September 6). NFL says Jags’ Lockley can pay $20,000 fine in weekly installments. Retrieved from http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/09/06/nfl-says-jags-lockley-can-pay-20000-fine-in-weekly-installments/