A Good Man

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. Mark 10:18

Ed Orgeron, the LSU Football coach, is, according to almost everyone, a good man. Someone called me “a good man” recently and, I have to say, it’s a mixed blessing.

“You are a good man” is a “but” sentence. “You are a good man, but I think we should break up.” “You are a good man, but you’re fat and ugly.” “You are a good man, but a lousy coach.” See what I mean?

Calling someone “good” is always conditional. Like Jesus said, “no one is good–except God alone.” So calling someone “good” is, in the purest sense, a lie. 

There is more to it, however. Most folks are uncomfortable with goodness. I have been a lawyer for 35 years. I have found clients don’t want a good man to represent them, they want a good lawyer. They assume that means someone who will do whatever it takes to win, regardless of goodness. In fact, sadly, most folks think the “best” lawyers are the unscrupulous ones, that you can’t be a good man and a good lawyer. 

This is part of Ed Orgeron’s problem. Most fans believe a head football coach has to be willing to cut corners, to be “bad.” Payoffs, lying to recruits, and at least a bit of cheating is assumed. It’s gotten so bad in college basketball that the FBI has gotten involved. Trust me, it’s just as bad in football and in lawyering. 

So, Ed, I would say your days in coaching are numbered. It may be that you are a bad coach, but at least partially it will be because you are a good man. Sadly, in the eyes of many, the two are mutually exclusive. It’s no accident that the generally acknowledged “best” coach in college football, lives in Alabama and has “Satan” as a nickname.


Leave a Reply