A lesson about honor from a high school football coach

Friday, October 4, 2013

I trust you’re as impressed as I am by the news that Matt Labrum, football coach at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, has suspended his entire team—all 80 players—for what he calls a “lack of character.” Unlike the win-first coaches celebrated in the sports pages, Labrum was referring to what was going on off the field, where a minority of the players had been skipping or failing classes and were perhaps involved in cyberbullying as well.

Understand what’s happening here: Everyone is being punished for the actions of a few. The unspoken suggestion is that members of a team should watch out for one another. If Player A breaks the rules, Player B shares responsibility. This communal understanding of good character provides an admirably clear illustration of the elusive concept known as “honor”—a swiftly dying virtue in an era in which ends always seem to outshine means.

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