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Building a Team? Talent or Character?

June 8, 2015

Filed under: Leadership — Tags: , , — Barry @ 11:03 AM




There is a lot of debate in Philadelphia these days about talent vs. character.  In a poll –talent won 60% to 40%.  I am on the character side—but then again I am fan of the NY Giants, but I live ten minutes outside of Philadelphia where Chip Kelly has been the subject of some interesting sports talk.

I want to say I am a fan of Chip Kelly.  I don’t know if he’s the next Vince Lombardi, only time will tell.  As a dentist who depends on teamwork to get the job done, I empathize with the Eagle coach.

For the unaware, Kelly recently traded his star running back, LeSean (Shady) McCoy to the Buffalo Bills.  McCoy then implied Kelly was a racist for trading away all of his good black players.  That’s when sports radio here in Philly blew up.


Because all evidence points to the opposite.  Kelly did not get rid of all his black players.  As a matter of fact, no where in Kelly’s long coaching history at any level can that be said.  Yet Kelly was asked to defend his position.  And he did it well.

Now I used to have a handle on the meaning of racism, but it’s become way to easy to throw that term around these days without any real evidence.  But I don’t want to get into that…just that watching McCoy through his years as an Eagle he seemed to me to be a loud mouth and a troublemaker.  Which brings me to the point of this blog post…when building a team…do you prefer talent or character.

I agree with Kelly…poor character can ruin a locker room.  Players with poor character traits can hurt more than they can help.  Sure they can win a game…but long-term they can tear a team apart.

I am a Giant fan – and when they went to the Super Bowl in 2008, Plaxico Burress helped to get them there.  One year later the Giants were on the road to another championship when Burress’s antics blew up the locker room…when he shot himself in the leg at a N.Y. nightclub.  Poor character kills.

When building any team, football or business, hire for character.  Character sustains.  Poor character people want to be treated differently because of their “star” status.  This can be a nightmare for a coach…and an employer.  Fairness is inherent in all of us…when one team member (or child) is treated differently, that’s trouble for the whole team.

That’s why I feel for Chip Kelly…I’ve been there.



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  1. I love that “racism” reference in the article. It has come in to vogue these days in a big way. Sheeesh. As for dentistry, yeah, have yourself a dental office and get yes people and you will do fairly well.

    Comment by Roger — June 8, 2015 @ 3:53 PM

  2. Roger –there’s great discussion up here on this issue—seems no one knows what racism is—what’s the definition? I know some racists—but only by their actions not their words.

    Comment by Barry — June 8, 2015 @ 4:22 PM

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