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Schultz: The challenges of moving on in Cowboys camp

Chris Schultz
12/12/2012 11:19:44 AM
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So what do you do now?

As the intensity of the tragic set of circumstances surrounding the Dallas Cowboys diffuses and life goes on, what do you do? How do you set up a program or a process that will ensure that the NFL and specifically the Cowboys will never have to experience what they did the weekend past?

To be honest, it is a maturity issue at the root of the problem. To drive a car under any form of intoxication in today's world, with all the massive reality information out there of the consequences, is taking an attitude of invincibility to the extreme. To believe that it will not affect you as it would others.

I know I am not invincible but I also know in my youth - because I had never paid consequences for my actions - I could not see a possible negative consequence for an action. I had never experienced one. Then when you do, you can perceive what may happen before it happens and avoid the self-destructive action.

The key is the emotion involved with the first time you do something that truly hurts others or yourself. If the emotion is intense and gets locked into your brain then chances are, and I mean chances, you will never do that action again. But, if your response is mild, and it does not "hit you" hard in the face, chances are you will repeat.

The other aspect to avoid a consequence is repetition. That constant reminder that if you do this, this will happen. When I get in my car I put my seat belt on. And I remember a time that driving without a seat belt was not a big deal. Now, through repetition over time it has become a natural process. With intoxication it may be different as you're intoxicated so you're not thinking the same way as you would if you were 100 per cent sober, but the use of repetition can avoid a beginning that could result in a tragic end.

The problem is youth. When you're young you're stupid because of your limited experience - not of the good but of the bad. Not all, but some do have to make a freedoms choice of right and wrong and only do it when freedom is taken away. We live in a free country but are not free to endanger others because we want to do what we want to do, how and when we want to do it. That respect for others is key to avoiding anything similar to what happened in Dallas this past weekend.

I don't have many connections left with the Cowboys except for key individuals that are responsible for player safety. Trust me when I say that it is devastating to the organization that this happened. As ruthless as football is, and it is, the people with the Cowboys know they are dealing with people who play football, not just football players. That's a key distinction as a point of clarity that is suppressed often.

We live in a time of freedom that others in other countries do not have. But we do not live in a time without self control and rational actions. When you lose the latter you take a risk to lose the former. The majority, vast majority of Pro Football players are good people. But, to be honest, the demands of the game demand a confident and different type of personality. That extreme personality has to have a beginning and ending at work when needed.

I don't have the answer to how to avoid what happened over the weekend. It is for people more deeply educated than me. But I do feel you never stop trying to associate the football player as a person first, player second. Even what is unforgivable can be used as a point of education. To educate people that live in anticipation of consequences is good as it may one day help all or anyone avoid an ultimate consequence.

Chris Schultz

Chris Schultz

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