Much ink and many words have been used in the last week or so to debate the issue of England’s football team captain’s affair with a team-mate’s partner. I was reading a pretty good piece of writing by The Times’ leading sports columnist Matthew Syed – Amongst many valid points and astute observations, he includes this paragraph:

We are familiar with footballing types and, indeed, politicians, lawyers, doctors and journalists betraying their wives — and, for that matter, their husbands. Adultery is such a habitual feature of modern society (and, if anthropologists are to be believed, premodern society) that is has become common to regard it as by the by; a matter of personal conscience, to be resolved (or otherwise) with one’s partner if and when it is exposed. But betrayal of a team-mate — well, that seems to be a different thing altogether.

It baffled me how it somehow seems less offensive to cheat on your spouse and children than offend a team-mate. Is faithfulness not a necessary trait of character for a leader? Should the way we treat those closest to us not be a benchmark for leading others?

And just before you think I jump on the bandwagon – I think incidents like these are an opportunity for all those of us who are in leadership to examine our thought, motives and actions. A warning sign, if you like….

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