When Approaching Athletes off the Field.. Respect their Personal Space


In my role as CEO of a sports agency representing professional athletes on and off the field, I have occasion to witness and even be a part of potentially volatile situations that can arise between athletes and “fans” of sports.  In life, as in sport, people need to have a second to adjust to the play or what is coming at them before contact is made. It’s the neutral zone of life, if you will, and everyone needs a little personal space, especially with new and alien encounters. In fact, it’s that moment when you jump across the line before the play begins that sends the situation south.

So many of these incidents are entirely avoidable if all of us would just learn to simply respect each others “private space.”  I am not just  talking about being out in public, in a restaurant, or simply walking down the street, I am talking about the 6 inches of private space around your body that everyone has a right too, regardless of fame, fortune or situation. When a recognizable athlete is out and about in the general public they are often out to do something, meet with friends, pick up their kids from school, attend a meeting, go to dinner, go to a movie or head to the stadium.  In the context of those actions they are approached so many times by “fans” with a story as to why they need a picture, or an autograph or a handshake. While it is easy to accept the notion that many of the requests are legitimate and sincere, you cannot discount the action of a complete stranger poking, grabbing or putting their hands on you to get your attention while you are otherwise engaged. It can not only be threatening it can be startling and challenging to deal with in the moment. You have no idea what transpired in that persons life in the seconds before you arrive at that moment in time. I have become so good at recognizing this, that i can predict 100 percent of the time who is going to get a picture or an autograph and who is not.

Consider this simple notion next time you approach someone : Everyone deserves the respect of a little space and the chance to adjust to the situation. Consider it the line of scrimmage from which you cannot go off sides prior to the snap of the ball. In life and in dealing with folks respect the line of scrimmage and stay on sides.

You will get better results !


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