Professional sports in the U.S. are a national treasure. But the reality is, there's way more than love of the game involved in making pro leagues work. The NFL recently lost their non-profit status (for good reason). The MLB is no longer about kids, peanuts, crackerjacks and scorecards. The NBA is finding a way to grab some attention. And the NHL, I like hockey - we're a strange breed. At the end of the day pro sports is a business - and its success is a function of many decisions fans aren't privy to.
The old model of drafting young men and handing them million dollar contracts, then crossing your fingers and hoping they act "right" and behave in a way that benefits your brand and produces positive outcomes is fraught with disaster. Leagues and teams have recognized this and have begun focusing more on player support resources, wellness programs, and educational opportunities -- for the betterment of everyone.
The number one pick in last nights NFL draft, Myles Garrett is facing overwhelming expectations. His performance will be scrutinized in every way and the pressure will be constant. In many respects he has already been set up to fail -- It's just the nature of the beast. Hopefully the Cleveland Browns have a plan in place to give Myles Garrett and the other men they draft the best chance to succeed in football and beyond.
As the NFL draft kicks into high gear this weekend - I'm wishing all the players embarking on their new lives the best of luck - james.