Teammates protect teammates. They look out for one another. They guard each other against media and fans who will stop at nothing to provoke a controversial story. But how do you defend a teammate when doing so compromises all your credibility? How do you defend a teammate when his choices and subsequent dishonesty show utter disregard for those around him? What do you do when the integrity of the game, or your profession or family is compromised by someone for whom you care deeply? That’s a tough time to be a teammate. I know the answer is not more lies or deception. I know the answer is not feigning ignorance.
I hope to never put those I care about in a position where they have to defend poor choices I make. If I do put them in such a position, I hope they have the courage to call me to task. I am grateful that I am not famous enough to have my mistakes laid out for the world to see, but we all have teams, whether they are religious groups, families, friends or coworkers. Teammates protect teammates as individuals, but they also protect the integrity of the team collectively. When an individual puts his choices before the welfare of the team, he must be confronted for the sake of the team. It is not easy and it is certainly not fun, but it is what teammates do. Without accountability and transparency, I’m not sure whether it can be called a team at all.