Originally Posted by Hoosier Red
I think the responsibility for this falls on the coaches 100%.
Think of less dire circumstances, an athlete never wants to tell a coach he can't play due to injury. That's why the good coaches take it out of the athlete's hands and refuse to let them play and make an injury worse.
In this case, the kid wouldn't want to admit to the coach(or video coordinator whomever his immediate boss was) that he couldn't or wouldn't do the job, especially because he was afraid. 99 times out of 100, the thing doesn't fall down and the kid would feel embarrassed because he refused to do the job. That's why the coach has to be the one to say "no one's going up there."
The sad part of this, as with most young people in a similar less dire situations, the disappointment would likely be less than he had feared. If he had said something to the coach, I'm guessing the coach would have looked up and realized that he'd never want to put the kid at risk and accomodated.
But again, because the kid was so eager to please, he put himself in harms way, and the coach has to be proactive enough to keep him from doing that.
Is that really a good excuse though? If I do something because I'm overly eager in my profession, does it make it smart? Does it make it right?
If someone knows the risks, no matter how understandable the motives, a bad decision is a bad decision.
I'm not saying the Notre Dame coaches shouldn't have stopped this from happening. But I don't really see how we should be teaching that it's OK for kids not to speak up against their better judgment just because they're eager to please their bosses. To me... ignorance is not a good excuse.
Here's the thing...
When I was 20, I was driving 2 hours away, 3 days a week for school in broadcast journalism. At the same time, I was driving an hour in the opposite direction for an internship at a radio station. This while holding down a part time pizza delivery job.
There were a few times I had to call off class or the internship because of weather conditions. And truthfully, I felt awful about it. One night I called off the internship because of an ice storm. I kept second-guessing myself if it would get me fired because it wasn't 'that bad' or at least I told myself. I was really worried how the station would view my call-offs, even though they were for the right reasons.
The next day, I found out a classmate from school had been killed while out driving in that same ice storm. Now that wouldn't have been me. He was not even in the same part of the state as I was. But reality hit me that night that I was smart to make the decision I did, even though it might have cost me a good opportunity early in my career.
Had I not made that choice, and had it been me in an accident, I would hope that the blame is not put on the station just because they didn't tell me not to come to work that evening. I knew the risk, and had I gone anyhow, I can't on good conscious blame them for not stopping it themselves. As it turns out, they were fully supportive of my decision when I suggested it was not wise for me to drive an hour in the icy conditions. But I sure was nervous about it when making the choice.
Given that, I totally understand the kid's predicament and I understand why kids his age wouldn't often speak up. It wasn't all that long ago that I was that same age and feeling a similar issue. But having lost a classmate that evening, as I would later find out, it made me appreciate having the guts to make a smart decision even if it may have cost me a job. You just don't fool around with your own safety.
I think we should be worried about kids getting that message instead of suggesting that it's OK to ignore your conscience, because if something happens, it's someone's fault. Notre Dame officials made a very bad choice. No doubt about it. But the kid's own words suggest he knew he was in a bad position and apparently did not act on it.
If he had just said something, anything about his concerns... who's to say the Notre Dame coaches wouldn't have let him off the hook? It's one thing that they made a bad choice not to stop it, but it would be completely different if they forced him to go up there despite the concern.