Welcome to “Athlos” a weekly Wednesday blog which examines pillars of personal excellence and regularly brings together the worlds of spirituality and sport.
“Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.”-Proverbs 15:12
Correction is humbling
My observation, admittedly a limited one, is that few of us embrace correction well. That is not entirely surprising because the whole idea of accountability can threaten us, especially given the primacy that we humans give to autonomy. Our Western culture preaches a message of independence and freedom to do as we please, when we please. Anyone who seeks to curtail that runs the risk of serious pushback.
Is this what happened to Kyrie Irving who we looked at last week? He alone knows what was going on in his heart as he turned down multiple opportunities to apologize for his comments that hurt Jewish and other communities. Irving’s employers, the NBA’s New Jersey Nets, subsequently suspended him for five games without pay. That seemed to have hit home. An apology came soon after. Nike also suspended their sponsorship relationship with Irving.
The words of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver were telling as reported by ESPN:
“…I am disappointed that he has not offered an unqualified apology and more specifically denounced the vile and harmful content contained in the film he chose to publicize. I will be meeting with Kyrie in person in the next week to discuss this situation.”
Two things stand out here. First, Silver expected Irving to offer “an unqualified apology.” In other words, he was looking out for clear, unambiguous, and contrite words from Irving that would leave no doubt that he took ownership for his comments and recognized the damage that was done. Second, Silver planned to have a face-to-face conversation. That is usually the best option for sensitive conversations.
Apparently, it was only when Irving started to feel the tangible consequences of his actions that he turned around. His earlier narrative was that he was not backing down. That changed abrupt after his suspension. My question is: are we any different? Do we first have to feel the pinch of hard consequences before taking the path of humility? I encourage us all to become self-aware in this area.
Saying sorry is powerful. Being corrected refines our character and keeps us grounded. They work very well together.
Let us see correction and apologies for what they are-our friends, not our enemies.
If you were inspired by this blog, please consider sharing it with one other person today. To learn more about these and other related themes that promote the cultivation of an integrated inner self, read UNBEATABLE! which is available on Amazon in print and as an e-book.