On Leaders, Organizations and Reputation
This article is written in light of the many cases which appeared in the news in the last year or so, regarding corrupt and immoral leaders within organizations in which we (people in the western world especially) put much hope and energy in. Here, I wish to talk about Mr. Jerry Sandusky (former football coach at Penn State University), Mr. Jimmy Savile (television presenter and media personality, in Great Britain) and in general I will mention the countless Catholic sex abuse cases which pedophile priests have been part of, in the recent past. I chose these examples because they are widely known but these are not the only cases in which leaders of respected organizations abuse their power and/or abuse others. I will mention others as well.
The main problem I see with all of these cases is the issue of cover-ups. Organizations such as the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) or the Catholic Church have an incredibly wide audience, world-wide. They receive a great deal of support, in many different ways (not only monetary) and the people who work for them enjoy a high level of respect. Thus, the reputation of the leaders of such organizations is also quite high; they are looked-up to and with time their reputation sky-rockets. In some cases, they are seen as heroes. We only have to think of Mr. Lance Armstrong here and his Livestrong organization, which helps people whom are fighting cancer: http://www.livestrong.org/. I will return to this later though.
In regard to sport organizations, I would like to say that I think it is ridiculous how much attention, time and money we give, in order to watch a few guys (or girls) play a sport, be that basketball, football, hockey or anything else. And precisely because of this point, I think the importance of these organizations grows and with that, the reputation of the leaders of these organizations also grows, exponentially at times.
Mr. Jerry Sandusky may have been the best football strategist ever, I do not know. What I do know is that he abused children and that his abuse of children went on and on and on. And even when reported, the allegations were discredited by the organizations’ authorities; as one victim said at the trial of Mr. Sandusky: “they didn’t believe me”. The victim was not believed because Mr. Sandusky’s reputation was greater than that of the victim. Yet, who gives the reputation to people as Mr. Sandusky? We do - those who indulge in such organizations as if they are the end to all means. Many of us, flock to football games like flies on a piece of ... You know what. I know people who are really upset that there is no hockey season this year – these people are actually upset, no kidding. I usually laugh but when I see how much importance is given to these organizations and the leaders of these organizations then, I begin to understand that this is actually a problem and not exactly a laughing matter.
Mr. Jimmy Savile mesmerized people for decades. The truth about his pedophile tendencies did not come to light until after his death. He’ll probably be reincarnated into a cockroach but that’s beside the point. People loved him off like some sort of saint or something ... to me this is disgusting: the love of celebrities – the putting on a pedestal of individuals. I look up to some personalities too. I can say I learned a lot from Napoleon, or from my ancient King Decebal but not even them, do I hold to such high esteem as some people held Mr. Savile.
At the moment there are resignations at the BBC left, right and center. It is believed that the cover-up there was due to the fact that the BBC had too much to lose; its reputation was too great. Therefore, a sexual predator’s actions were overlooked or even dismissed perhaps. People were abused for decades and the truth about this was hidden for endless years in order to protect the reputation of an organization ... this makes no sense in my mind.
Sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is probably as old as the religion itself. One has only to do a quick “Google search” on “Catholic sex abuse cases” to get hundreds of results. I am honestly not making this up. Anyone can verify what I am saying here, it is no secret.
The same thing plays itself over and over again. The Catholic Church and its administrators would quicker cover-up cases of sexual abuse or corruption (the recent case of the Pope’s butler comes to mind) so as not to undermine the reputation of the Catholic Church as an Institution. This is a clear example of what I call: “stepping on people’s heads to get higher” – as long as the plate of collection fills-up every Sunday, who cares who gets molested or abused? Keep the reputation high at all costs.
What many people do not realize, is that we are the reason why some organizations become great. Mr. Lance Armstrong’s organization Livestrong, has helped countless people. That help was from donations of people like You and I. We make Livestrong strong! Not Mr. Lance Armstrong. Sure, he started it and he was a spokesman for it but our donations made it grow and our support made it flourish, not just Mr. Armstrong. Without the help of the general public Livestrong would not be where it is and it would not have been able to have the impact it did.
University football organizations, religious institutions, non-profit organizations and any other such group is only as important as we make it to be and the same may be said about their leaders. If we glorify football coaches so much then, yes I suppose the well-being of the football team ends-up depending on them but that is not how it must be, or it is necessary to be
Livestrong will live-on, even without Mr. Lance Armstrong. Penn State football will continue without Mr. Sandusky and Catholicism will go on even when this crooked Pope will vanish. I do wish we can learn from our past and that we will stop putting leaders up onto pedestals, as we have been indulging in doing. Organizations are founded on ideas and not on people – we have to hold those good ideas dear to our hearts and not necessarily those who come-up with those ideas. As in: value what I have said here, not me as whoever I am ...
I wish everyone well. Cheers!
Note: My photograph, France, Paris 2010
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