“People wanted to get on Richard Sherman for being brash and aggressive in his post-game interview after the NFC championship game, but they sure enjoyed watching the bloodbath that took place on that field for 60 minutes between San Francisco and Seattle. One of the best games of the playoffs was one of the most brutal, physical games I saw all season. NaVorro Bowman had his leg snapped in half during a fumble recovery, and while he was writhing in pain on the ground, Marshawn Lynch came over and stole the ball out of his hands. First down Seattle. Crowd goes wild. Fans want to see stripped-down gladiators out on the field and buttoned-up businessmen in the locker room. You can’t always have it both ways.
With so much testosterone and so much ego in one room, the possibility of things going off the rails is very high. Like any workplace, however, the most important stabilizing force is good leadership, from an organizational level, a coaching level, and most importantly a player level. From my experience, the best teams are the ones that have strong leadership at each position.
My workplace is not the typical American workplace. It’s far from perfect, but then again, so are we. And, maybe, so is this sport we play. When it’s all said and done, we all will miss the screaming fans, the big games, the packed stadiums, the adrenaline of competition. But the thing I hear the most from guys who retire is how much they miss the locker room. Something tells me that’s not going to change if I share mine with someone who just so happens to have a different sexual orientation.”