As a life-long fan of American Football, I am familiar with one of the ugliest incidents in NFL history. And as sports is business, one of the ugliest incidents in business history!
On August 12, 1978, in a pre-season game at the Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders’ Jack Tatum, nick-named “The Assassin,” and known as a vicious “head-hunter” forearmed the Patriots’ Daryll Stingley (pictured above) as Stingley leaped to make a catch. The vicious hit, available on YouTube, which I will not present here, left Stingley paralyzed from the neck down and wheel-chair bound for life!
Jack Tatum, a football player, and by default a businessman, never spoke with Stingley following the hit. He didn’t approach Stingley on the field as he lay motionless, paramedics rushing to his aid. He never visited him. Not at home or in the hospital. Not in rehab. He never called. Nothing!
Jack Tatum died yesterday.
There is an old saying that “It’s never too late to apologize.”
Jack Tatum proved that old adage wrong!
In business, when we do something to hurt someone, cause them pain or cause them loss or damage, it is incumbent upon us to recognize what we have done and to mouth those two hardest words in the English language, to say, “I’m sorry!”
It might take soul-searching and it might require some moments of discomfort, but it must be done!
If not now, when?
If not later, when?