"The Boz" Really a Reflection of "Me First" Philosophy Gone Wild

By Nichols, Max | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 3, 1988 | Go to article overview
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"The Boz" Really a Reflection of "Me First" Philosophy Gone Wild


Oklahomans are so up tight over the probable damage to University of Oklahoma football by Brian Bosworth's book, "The Boz,'' that the most important points and weaknesses of the book are being missed.

The damage concern certainly is understandable. Bosworth's allegation that Coach Barry Switzer allowed stars to do "just about anything'' they wanted could well hurt OU's football program - along with tales about selling tickets for outrageous prices, Buster Rhymes firing a machine gun, players "free basing'' cocaine and smashing hotel rooms. However, that's just part the book.

"The Boz'' really is a reflection of the "me first'' or "I'' philosophy gone wild, of self-centered individualism carried beyond regard to others' individual rights. It dramatizes the ultimate potential of mind twisting from requiring no less than stardom from park athletics to the big leagues.

For those reasons, I strongly recommend "The Boz'' to anyone supervising others - from business management to raising children - and to those who have raised children. I recognized numerous mistakes of my own in raising children and managing employees in the reading of this book. While I disagree with Bosworth on numerous issues, he makes a number of worthwhile points, and there was something to learn in areas where we disagree.

Individualism seems to be his major theme, and he recommends it to others, including children. That's fine, but the problems come when he opposes the individual preferences of others when they stand in his way. He wants to be part of a winning team, but he assumes no responsibility to other members. He set out to profit from OU, but he assumes he owes OU nothing. He wants to profit from fame but sneers at the fans because of their imperfections.

"I think I've shown kids that they can think for themselves and still be good at what they do,'' he said. "That they can still be themselves. They don't have to dress a certain way, talk a certain way, hold their napkin a certain way to be a success in the 1990s.''

I have no problem with that. In fact, I made that argument in the 1950s and 1960s. However, then he adds:

"The old rules don't count any more. What counts is results.''

While superficial rules about dress, haircuts and table manners come and go, older basic "rules'' of responsibility to fellow men and women must be counted into the "results,'' and Bosworth makes no allowance for that. He writes with pride of breaking football rules to intimidate others on the field with blows, scratching and gouging. He laughs about destroying property or endangering lives by driving at breakneck speeds, and then he criticizes those who have no "manners'' in asking for autographs.

He obviously is a bright man who learned his lessons in marketing while graduating with a 3.3 grade point average. His values are something else. Clearly, he demands one set of rules for himself.

As for his tales about carousing, I found nothing new or shocking. Having been a sports writer (he critizes us, too) for 25 years, and having traveled with Billy Martin for nearly 10 years, I have heard all of it before.

I was on hand for four of Martin's fights. I have seen a gun pulled on a team bus, drunken players stumbling around, and I have heard hundreds of tales of male athletes and their non-relationships with women. The real problems in this category stem from two basic areas:

- He violates the ages old unwritten rule that teammates should be loyal to each other and therefore be responsible to each other.

- He disregards any responsibility to those who have helped him - such as Switzer or the university - taking the position that they owe him as much as he owes them.

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"The Boz" Really a Reflection of "Me First" Philosophy Gone Wild


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