Updated: Nov 3
Every office, every company, and every team will have a bad apple who will spread negativity, make trouble and bring everyone down. We recently had to deal with the one we had. Obviously, it was not a pleasant experience or an easy thing to do, but you cannot let the harmful behavior continue because it starts affecting others as well. In football, team positivity is crucial. Anyone with problematic behavior can bring the morale of the team down and affect the overall performance. Healthy behaviors are listed among the top priorities of clubs and we are no exception.
Now when I look back at this particular case, the alarm bells had been ringing all summer. Since the day this player arrived, we had serious reservations regarding him. Keeping that in view, we had a discussion with him and his family to let them know about our apprehensions. We categorically highlighted our dissatisfaction with his attitude, hence we wanted him to start with the reserve team. We believed it would give him time to improve, change and earn a place for himself in the first team if he proved himself to be good enough. With these conditions, we accepted the player in the summer.
However, from day one it wasn’t smooth sailing and this athlete kept giving a hard time to all those around him. For the sake of discretion and for the player’s respect, I will not go into the details, but all the warning signs were there. He would argue with the coach, miss training, would not wear the right shoes, and do all the things that showed his disrespect for the opportunity given to him. This was all tolerated under the belief that he might mend his ways and begin to focus on his performance but to no avail.
The final nail in the coffin was when he was discovered smoking in his room. A mature person would have apologized and moved on. Those who are vying to play professional football must have the courage to take responsibility for their actions and accept when they are wrong. Not accepting or arguing reinforces the fact that the player is not willing to change because the first step towards willingness to improve is to acknowledge your mistake. His attitude was a typical case of a rotten apple. Instead of being apologetic, he accused his roommate of setting him up and of everyone conspiring against him. The episode ended with him having a fistfight with his roommate. This kind of behavior is of course unacceptable and action was in order.
Bad apples in any organization need to be identified and dealt with efficiently or they can cause a lot of damage and bring a bad reputation. We have clear ground rules and everyone has to abide by these. Owing to the negative behavior we had no choice but to terminate him and ask him to leave the club.