That is a word that gets thrown around a great deal, especially in regards to the new generation. While every generation insists that it had the hardest time, or endured the most to obtain what it has, this is the first time that one word has been used to cover an entire generational group.
Various claims that the newest generation is spoiled are nothing new. Where is the line between “entitlement” and a gap in how society has changed? What was acceptable 20 years ago is not the same as what was acceptable 50 years ago, which is not the same as what was acceptable 100 years ago. Among the largest changes from one generation to the next is how punishment is handled.
The line of “discipline” and “abuse” is a tight rope. Even the military, where discipline is basic training was once enforced by striking the recruits, has changed its ways. Some would say this is a change that reflects society no longer requiring violence to solve insolvency. Others claim it is the new generation being “babied” and “coddled”.
This line is one Washington State head coach Mike Leach has found himself walking before. In 2008, Leach allegedly locked Adam James, a player on his Texas Tech team that had been diagnosed with a concussion, in a supply closet. Texas Tech later found other allegations of abuse against the coach that were never released to the media, according to Jerry Turner, the Texas Tech vice president. Leach’s lawyer claimed that James was sent there to stay out of the heat. Other anonymous players said that it was because Leach thought James was faking the injury to avoid practice, despite a doctor’s recommendation that he was actually concussed.
Leach was fired for this incident. He always proclaimed his innocence, filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school. Leach claimed that James felt he was “entitled” to special treatment because of his father, ESPN analyst Craig James. That suit is still is resolution.
Despite this, Leach was hired this past offseason at Washington State. Last week, Washington State star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team after being suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules. Wilson alleges verbal, emotional, and physical abuse by the coaching staff, especially Coach Leach.
Wilson, a projected 1st or 2nd round pick before this season, and Washington State’s all-time leading receiver, was demoted from his starting spot, and singled out by Leach in the media several times.
There are two possibilities at work here. One is that Wilson is using Leach’s past to justify his demotion from his starting job, and taking petty revenge on a coach that worked him harder than he would like. The other is that Leach went overboard with player treatment as he did in 2008. Considering Wilson was less than a year away from making a great deal of money in the NFL, and may have thrown it all away with this move, the evidence strongly points in the direction of Leach’s office.
As more information becomes available, the definition of discipline will come into play again. Was Wilson too soft, or did Leach step over the line of what is acceptable? Expect to hear the words “entitled” and “entitlement” many, many times.
Everyone is entitled to fair treatment. Everyone is entitled to scrutiny for their actions. Someone is in the wrong here, and at the end of day, neither of them is “entitled” to a job.