The Trusted Circle
For the Texas Rangers, Game 6 of the 2011 World Series must have been like selecting dessert in the cafeteria line and have Nurse Ratchet take it away at the cash register.
The next day, before Game 7, an unnamed Texas Rangers employee, who had been granted access to the sanctity of the locker room, recorded manager Ron Washington’s clubhouse speech. That employee then leaked it for the world to hear. Ron Washington didn’t intend for his words, and exactly how he delivered them, to be part of the public smorgasboard for public consumption. He thought he didn’t have to worry about that — he was in the privacy of the clubhouse, that island of refuge long respected and cherished by coaches and players.
It is bad enough if somebody within the inner circle leaks what was said. But, such information is suspect — the leak is subject to scepticism as it is the word of a single individual. There is always doubt. Is that exactly what was said? How was it said? What is the motive of the leaker?
An actual audio recording of everything, as it happened, and exactly how it happened, is something else altogether. A video recording with sound is worse.
The sanctity of the clubhouse in athletics is an unwritten rule. Violation of it is a punishable offense. Or, at least it should be.
Somebody video-recorded the Vols’ post-game celebration of the defeat of Vanderbilt in overtime Saturday night in the dressing room, and then released it for public viewing. You might as well have had a family member taping your family’s dinner conversation in your own home where discussion about your neighbor’s transgressions was delivered along with the mashed potatoes and gravy, and then having that family member email it to that neighbor and all the other neighbors.
The result has been the holier-than-thou response of Vanderbilt’s head coach (as if he and his team haven’t expressed their innermost feelings to themselves), and the public mockery of Derek Dooley, especially by the Dooley-haters. Those folks, including non-journalists such as shock-jock reporter Clay Travis and his ilk, have posted the video as if it brightens their own personal plumage. Self-aggrandizement at the expense of a respected code of athletics, all for the sake of a few hits on a website.
The video artist was in the Neyland Stadium clubhouse with full access to the privacy of the locker room. By definition they were part of the family. That person violated a code of family. They violated the trust of the family.
In this world of suffocating press coverage with its immediacy, the locker room is the single place that players and coaches can let it all out — all of the building frustrations of getting pounded week after week by opponents that include the top three college football teams in the country.
Now, there is no island left for a team to express their immediate emotions. All because some people cannot be trusted.
A loss of trust within the inner circle of warriors is bigger than any loss they could suffer on the battlefield.
Some just blame it on the nature of today’s world with its miracles of communication. But that is to disregard the human factor that is as much a part of today’s world as it was a part of the world of two thousand years ago. Somebody still has to pull the trigger, no matter how sophisticated the weapon.