Monday, April 30, 2012

Clai-borne Identity

Welp, the Cowboys made quite the unexpected splash by moving up to acquire Morris Claiborne for their first-round pick. In just the first 3 days, this selection has been met with equal praise and scrutiny. Now I'll admit I know next to nothing about Mr. Claiborne. But two things I know: 1. He scored a 4 on the Wonderlic test. 2. He said he didn't try on the Wonderlic test.

I have to ask, does this bother no one else? Everything I've heard in the press has really minimized these two factoids. Because apparently the causality of Fact 2 to Fact 1 makes this testing anomaly (read: mega-embarrassment) a non-issue. In my eyes, both items are quite troubling.

For starters, how does one score a 4-- a four! That is four questions out of 50. That is horrible. My brother scored exponentially better on the practice Wonderlic test we took before the annual family Thanksgiving game. And he's 13. Even the unstable Vince Young managed a cool 7 the first go-round.

But the biggest problem here is part two, the one where this guy just doesn't try. I'm not sure at what point it became acceptable for a person vying for millions of dollars to just mail it in on part of the application process. He knew that his skill was enough that teams would gloss over a simple test score in favor of his highly touted collegiate resume.

This attitude of flippancy smacks of arrogance and entitlement. The arrogance is to be somewhat expected-- he is NFL-caliber talent, after all. The entitlement is a big, big problem. This one act, though seemingly small, shows early signs of feeling "above the system." Well, well, well, does that sound familiar or what? He will be in good company at Valley Ranch. Jerry Jones has welcomed with open arms scores of players thought themselves to be beyond reproach (Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones...need I name more?). It's no secret that the Cowboys culture has catered to entitled attitude for some time. Clearly, he does not deserve to be ranked amongst these team cancers, but his disregard for the opportunity to make an impression on a future employer is disconcerting.

There's also the matter of personal pride. This guy was actually surprised and hurt by some of the backlash he received. What you put out for the world to see is how you are perceived, and perception is reality. So when people see a 4/50 as your score for an aptitude test, you might be judged as being not so bright. You don't get to put an asterisk next to it (a la Texas Longhorns) saying *did not try. If I'm an owner, manager, or owner/manager hybrid, I don't want this brand of apathy on my team. Because if you don't even take pride in your own name, how much care will you really put into your team?

And I may be making mountains out of mediocre scores here, but I think to completely disregard it as an indicator of attitude and effort is shortsighted. I think in the end, character still matters on the football field. And I don't care if Morris Claiborne is the baddest thing to ever hit the field, right now, i'm not impressed. Or perhaps, it'd be more apropos to say, "I don't care."

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