Saturday, April 2, 2016

D'Angelo Russell and Breaking the Code

For many reasons people often share private, personal and intimate information with those they consider within their circle of trust. I have done so. You have as well. Everybody has. It's part of being human. For most of us the group of people that we trust includes closely related family, past, current or would be intimate partners, clergy and really good friends. For some of us the group of people whom we trust without reservation even includes co-workers. I have never seen co-workers in that fashion but there are some jobs where it's critical to know your co-workers in ways that would be uncomfortably intimate for most of us.These types of jobs usually involve the requirement of spending much more than a 9-5 shift with your co-workers. And sometimes, no matter what kind of job you have or what sort of trust level you have with the people around you, you just need to vent or share information that probably shouldn't be shared. Whatever the case may be when you are giving personal information to someone you usually don't expect that news to go beyond the two of you, let alone be broadcast to the world. Basketball player D'Angelo Russell, LA Lakers guard, apparently didn't understand this. Russell had a conversation with teammate Nick Young. Young talked about his sexual exploits with women, some of which may have occurred while he was engaged to his fiancee, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. The problem was that Russell recorded this conversation, evidently without Young's knowledge. The worse problem is that Russell or someone close to him provided this conversation to the entire planet. This action obviously embarrassed and humiliated Young and Azalea. It also revealed Russell as an immature and decidedly untrustworthy individual. Russell's Lakers teammates have responded to his breach of decorum by freezing him out of their social networks. At the time that this post was written they're still refusing to talk to Russell, acknowledge or sit next to him during travel or lunch. And some football players responding to Russell's actions have broadly hinted that in the aggressive and dangerous world of the decidedly macho NFL, Russell might have worse and more pressing problems than someone not wanting to be his friend.    

Now I suppose a person of a more moralistic bent might point out that if Young didn't cheat or boast about things best left unspoken then he wouldn't have to worry about public exposure and any hypothetical resulting damage to his relationship with Azalea. And that's true as far as it goes. The greater sin is Russell's violation of trust with his teammate. I think that the parameters and boundaries of Young's and Azalea's relationship are things they need to discuss with each other, not with Russell or the world. If I were to become aware of a co-worker's infidelity or negative feelings towards his or her spouse I would not think I was required to give that knowledge to the spouse or make it public news. After all the spouse by definition knows the co-worker much better than I do. He or she may already know all about whatever ugly dirt I'm dragging into the spotlight. The spouse may not appreciate my actions. And in a case where two young attractive millionaires who work in the sports and entertainment business travel the world it would almost be more newsworthy if neither one of them was ever unfaithful. So I think I'd just keep quiet. The only way I could ever see pulling someone's coat about their spouse's unfaithfulness is if I am directly related to the party that's being cheated on or otherwise had some strong pre-existing relationship with him or her. And even then I'd have to think twice about it. And then I'd have to think some more. I have enough of my own issues to solve. Getting into someone else's personal business is dangerous stuff. And sharing it with the world is damn near unforgivable. This is like going to confession and learning the next day that the priest posted details of all of your sins on the Vatican website. It's just not what you expected when you spoke to him. Few people stay angry forever. It's not healthy. There are only a small number of people on the planet with the sort of talent possessed by D'Angelo Russell. So I think that eventually the NBA fraternity of players and coaches will if not quite forgive Russell, come to some sort of understanding with him. But Russell will always have that "snitch" label attached to him. For now he might consider a stint in the Witness Protection Program until the heat dies down.

Would you ever reveal someone's bad behavior told to you in confidence?

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