Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On Changing One's Mind

This is Andy Reid’s finest moment. His critics come off as disingenuous and/or obtuse. We beg for powerful, prideful and wealthy men to demonstrate the courage to admit their mistakes and quickly correct them.--Jason Whitlock

I've always thought the signature moment of the Bush era was that press conference during which the president struggled to come up a single mistake he'd made. In the end, that's how the '00s will be defined; by our nation's hubris, by a gale force of American exceptionalism, followed by a protracted humbling like none we'd seen in our lifetimes.

All of which brings me to Andy Reid.

The coach of the Philadelphia Eagles is, by all accounts, a mercurial dude at the helm of a franchise fraught with a deep racial and cultural history; no city is more conflicted about its sports teams (let alone its own identity) than Philadelphia. (I have many friends from Philadelphia, but I don't pretend to understand all the complexities.) Bringing Michael Vick into this powder keg of craziness seemed like a curious social experiment. And so, yes, a great deal of this is Reid's fault; it was his (questionable) decision to jettison Donovan McNabb, and it was his decision to bequeath the job to Kevin Kolb, and it was his decision to install Michael Vick as the backup. But to criticize Andy Reid for changing his mind, for making a decision based entirely on football, for reversing his course to do something entirely rational based on the results of the previous two weeks, is completely baffling.

And yet it also explains why we live in the world we do. It explains why politicians are so reluctant to change their positions even in the face of utterly rational discourse that proves them wrong; it explains why Barry Bonds will never admit to injecting himself with horse tranquilizers, and it explains why even when athletes/politicians/public figures do apologize, they refuse to even admit what they are apologizing for. At some point, changing one's mind became a greater weakness than holding to an irrational decision. For that reason, I'm with Whitlock: I'm hoping the Eagles make the Super Bowl.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Good post. In our world of soundbites and nut grafs the subtlety and courage it takes to actually change one's mind and admit wrong-headed thinking is often unappreciated, if it is noted at all. Sports, and politics, need more Andy Reids. We're all wrong sometimes (or, more likely, most of the time).

Enjoy your blog. Keep at it.