Good night and good luck

And so, after all his protestations and arguments to the contrary, it appears that Jets coach Herm Edwards is in the final stages of leaving to accept the top spot with the Kansas City Chiefs.

How sad is it that leaders in all walks of life today say one thing and then do the exact opposite? It Herm seems to me that Herm’s behavior is now the norm and not the exception.

Why isn’t the media holding our leaders more responsible for living up to their promises? Why aren’t there repercussions for people who act and behave the way Herm Edwards has done in recent days?

Herm’s behavior (i.e. re-assuring the press and fans that he wasn’t interested in the KC job while negotiating with Chiefs management behind the scenes) reminded me of an incident at Peppercom during the dotcom heydays.

As we were growing to the tune of about 100 percent annually, we decided to reward one of our top performers with a partnership in the business. The negotiations were heated at times, and took the better part of the Summer as "I’s" were dotted and "T’s" were crossed. Finally, the deal was struck. We called together the staff, issued a press release and lifted our champagne glasses to toast our newly-minted partner. About a week later, she resigned to take a corporate gig (with whom she was obviously negotiating all the while).

To both our erstwhile partner and the departing Herm Edwards, I’d borrow the signature sign-off of legendary newsman Edward R. Murrow and say, "good night and good luck."

2 thoughts on “Good night and good luck

  1. Maybe that’s where the entire problem lies. We’re so used to deception, lying and a total lack of accountability from people in the public spotlight (i.e. professional athletes and coaches, politicians, movie stars, etc.) that we just come to expect it and don’t bat an eye when it happens. Furthermore, just because everyone else does it, doesn’t make it right or acceptable.
    What kind of message does this send to our youth and the rest of the public? It tells them that money is really the only thing that matters and it’s worth pursuing even at the cost of your reputation.
    Money can do many great things but it can’t buy you a reputation and it can’t buy you happiness. Herm should remember that as he shuffles off to KC and realizes that he left his reputation strewn across the swamps of Jersey…

  2. I think part of this issue has to be, how much right does the public and the media have to know what’s going on behind the scenes of an organization like a professional sports team, one that is privately-held, but is closely tied to the identity of a city?
    Despite the fact that an NFL team depends on its fans for its success, they don’t have the legal rights of stockholders per se. NFL owners aren’t legally obligated to keep fans in the loop, although failure to do so on a consistent basis often leads to fan alienation and a hasty relocation to greener pastures. So there is a form of free-market check and balance that says you CAN lie to your fans, but doing so can result in lower ticket sales (until you start winning, that is).
    The bottom line to me is that, for Coach Edwards, this is just a job, and he has to do what is right for his career and his family. Being totally candid about his intentions with the public would have jeopardized his negotiations. Sure, his reputation as a straight shooter will take a hit, but then again, there aren’t very many people with that reputation to begin with these days.
    So when someone breaks a promise to fans and the media, it’s really not big news since it happens all the time, and hence, people forget quickly and life goes on. Society has allowed itself to forgive broken promises, something that was less forgivable a century ago. Today, it seems there is only the individual’s personal sense of honor that gives any weight to keeping one’s promises.