Character: Hard to Judge
People judge character every day.
This is the case whether it's a prospective employee interviewing for an available position or a mutual friend making an introduction. Unfortunately, people are usually judged by their first impressions, and in the event you might project a negative impression, you are usually given the benefit of the doubt. Managers, supervisors, and/or people with some type of authority frequently take that prospective candidate into account as a whole instead of making rash judgments.
These judgments translate into the professional world of sports just as they do in other businesses. When recruting an athlete or drafting a 19-year-old kid, top-notch employees whose job is to assess talent, professionalism, personality, and overall character spend hours, weeks, months, and even years meticulously analyzing each and every one of these prospects.
Your objective, as a highly-rated athlete, is to maintain a clean image so that teams will view you as a minimal risk. Remember, you're an asset in these multi-billion-dollar industries. Whatever you do reflects either negatively or positively on the team you play for.
Thus, the Aaron Hernandez story is an intriguing one, to say the least.
Whether or not he is found guilty, his character is and will now always be in question.
Bill Belicheck, who is notoriously known for drafting highly reputable athletes, decided to take a risk on Hernandez. A gifted athlete from the University of Florida, Hernandez was upfront with NFL suitors about a failed drug test for marijuana. Still, Belicheck and the entire New England Patriot staff took that into consideration and drafted Hernandez in the 4th round.
Belicheck and Pats owner Robert Kraft are also respected for their exceptional judgment when it comes to draftees and free agent signings. And until recently, the New England tight end hadn't made a peep; at least, he hadn't made a peep that was public knowledge.
Now, as is extremely public knowledge, Hernandez has been charged with first degree murder and is no longer a New England Patriot.
Everyone makes mistakes when it comes to company personnel. It's impossible to judge someone who puts on a facade and manages to keep his or her cover until the water boils over. We've witnessed it again and again with Terrell Owens. His childish antics, stubborn behavior, and circus acts have cost him more than he could ever imagine. Yet, during his prime, NFL clubs took risks on him because he still had talent and determination. Yet each team that signed him grew distressed by his distractive behavior and eventually released him. A wasted contract, a wasted year.
Businesses spend tons of money and countless hours trying to ensure that toxic personnel don't slip through their cracks. You hope people abide by a certain set of morals that parallel with what your team embodies. Yet, environmental, sociological, age, and economic issues are so diverse, it's a complex and time-consuming process to continuously assess athletes at a high level.
As a society, we will frequently make mistakes. It's not something one can perfect. You just hope that the risk you're taking is minimized compared to another prospect.