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Leadership Lessons—Think before Speaking or Writing

The world has changed. I remember hearing the story about President Franklin Roosevelt and how the press would never show him in a wheelchair because it could be viewed that America was weak.

Today popular people say or write (Tweet/Facebook) whatever is on their mind.

Here is a story from CNN just last week:

Curt Schilling, a star pitcher who was in the Major Leagues for 20 years and a baseball analyst for ESPN, was suspended from his Little League World Series duty after sending a controversial tweet Tuesday.

The tweet re-posted a meme that reads: “It’s said only 5-10 percent of Muslims are extremists. In 1940, only 7 percent of Germans were Nazis. How’d that go?” The text was superimposed of a red-tinted photo of Adolf Hitler.

Schilling added, “The math is staggering when you get to true numbers. Schilling also shared the photo on Facebook, where the original post links to a video about the end times.

At first Schilling didn’t back off from his post, but eventually he said it was wrong to post the meme. “I understand and accept my suspension. It was 100 percent my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part,” he wrote.

Wait there is more from ESPN:

ESPN and the NFL both condemned comments made by ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter at the 2014 NFL Rookie Symposium, when Carter talked to players during the NFC session about having a “fall guy in your crew” in case the player got in trouble.

The video was brought to light after a recent ESPN The Magazine interview with former San Francisco 49er Chris Borland, when Borland retold the story, but wouldn’t identify who said it. Video of the symposium had been archived on NFL.com, with Carter and Warren Sapp talking to players. Carter talked about having a fall guy, and Sapp repeated Carter’s statement that “we’ll get him out” if the person goes to jail. The video was later removed from NFL.com.

ESPN issued a statement, saying: “We completely disagree with Cris’ remarks and we have made that extremely clear to him. Those views were entirely his own and do not reflect our company’s point of view in any way.”

The NFL issued a statement, saying: “The comment was not representative of the message of the symposium or any other league program. The league’s player engagement staff immediately expressed concern about the comment to Cris. The comment was not repeated in the 2014 AFC session or this year’s symposium.”

Carter took to Twitter later Sunday to apologize for his comments.

One more. Here is one from Donald Trump, presidential candidate:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best,” he said during an announcement. “They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”

Good leaders know when to keep their mouths shut and their ears open. Abraham Lincoln said, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open ones mouth and remove all doubt.” ­

As I’ve gotten older and wiser, I look back on some of the things that I said at the heat of a moment or out of frustration. In my quest to become a much better leader, I think about Lincoln’s comments. Smart man. Much smarter than some of the people in the news these days.

Have a great week.

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