Etan Thomas: Jason Whitlock made the statement on Inside The NFL that "the Patriot's way of drafting players from "stable homes with two parents in the home" is best because they are coachable". Do you agree with him?
Coach Jordan: No I don't. I do believe that it is helpful to have a support group of responsible people around you. Whether its three women, aunts, uncles, whoever they are you need to have people who are going to give positive advice, guidance, and who genuinely care. So to answer your question specifically, no I don't agree with that but I do believe responsible guidance is definitely beneficial.
Etan Thomas: Do u think there is a growing perception that people who come from a single parent household have a strike against them before anyone really knows them as a person or has that opinion always been there?
Coach Jordan: I think they look at the young person and if they see laziness, un discipline, un caring attitude, then people are going to jump to conclusions that the household isn't stable enough. And sometimes that may in fact be the case. But sometimes, you have people from the best environments, all the opportunities in the world, two loving parents, and they turn out to be the most un disciplined, iresponsible people you will ever meet. Now from a coaching standpoint, I don't think that a college coach comes to a recruit a player and after seeing that he is only being raised by his mother automatically should believe that kid would be uncoachable or a problem. That would be ridiculous. I don't think that happens and I don't think that should happen.
Etan Thomas: I have made DC my home and still do a lot of work in DC and I know you grew up in Southeast DC, and a lot of the young men I work with are in that situation of growing up in a single parent household and I feel that message that has been echoed not only by Jason Whitlock but by society as a whole that they can't be as successful in life and I definitely don't think that's he right message. What are your thoughts on that?
Coach Jordan: I was raised in the heart of Southeast Washington DC, and you know that can be a tough place to grow up in and be successful. The most important reason that I wanted to go into coaching from the time I was in the 9th grade. And what I learned from my 9th grade coach when he would take 13 young men who wanted to be disciplined, who wanted to have structure, he gave that to us. And not just structure and discipline but also taught us how to work together for a greater good. Something beyond ourselves. That had a tremendous impact on me. Seeing how this coach could change young men's entire lives, young men who couldve ended up robbing people, gangs, murdering people, all kinds of stuff. I saw how this coach made them believe in themselves because he stressed to them that he believed in them, myself included. And this was no matter what their situation was at home. One parent, two parents, rich, poor it didn't matter. My coach was part of that support group that gave us the structure, discipline, and responsible guidance that we needed. And I say all of that to say this, young people need to hear that someone believes in them. We as adults can't simply bombard them with negativity all the time
Etan Thomas: That was a great illustration coach. Let me ask you this, in your coaching experience, have you noticed that young men from single parent homes are more sensitive to correction, coaching, discipline? Because that is another issue that I have heard repeatedly.
Coach Jordan: Again, people can't make blanket statements like that. I've seen professional players that I've coached who come from two parent households and are the most sensitive guys I have ever seen. Just fragile. Didn't respond to authority, rules, discipline etc. There comes a time in every man's life where he has to have self discipline. Basically, he has to grow up and put away childish things. Yes you need reinforcement, yes you need proper guidance, but there comes as time where he has to do it for himself.
Etan Thomas: I'm a firm believer in young people are going to do what they can get away with. And if they have that structure and discipline then their gonna fall in line. While I was with you in DC, I saw you trying to enforce that structure and discipline. Now it may not have always been backed by management but I saw you trying to enforce that
Coach Jordan: absolutely and there are two types of reinforcement. First you have positive reinforcement which you would always like to give and to utilize but then there is negative reinforcement that is much needed. Sometimes it can be punishment through your parents, through the school, through legal system. Then its time for the person to respond in a positive way whether positive or negativie reinforcement is used.
On the court they have learn how to be a better teamate, how to improve their game, how to accept criticism, how to practice tirelessly to improve himself as a player. He has to learn to motivate himself, respect authority, and better himself.
The young man has to make his decision whether we are talking about in basketball or in life. On the court or off of it. He has to make his decision. You can give someone all of the structure and discipline in the world, but if he is not responding to it and he doesn't make the decision to choose right over wrong, then he won't succeed period. Then there is no blame game, you can't blame the fact that he didn't have a father in the house or that he grew up poor, he has the foundational structure and discipline and is able to make his own choice which way he or she chooses to go
Etan Thomas: I agree and another thing that the so called experts have targeted as a reason for the behavior of young people is hip hop. I personally believe that this is a cop out. Because most young people know the difference between real and make believe. What are your thoughts on that?
Coach Jordan: In my day it was a lot of Temptations and Smokey Robinson and a lot of love songs but that didn't mean that you go out and try to sleep with everything that moves. Now I can't say that I didn't know guys who thought they were Superfly or The Mack and tried to live that out, that was before your time do you know who they are?
Etan Thomas: Yes coach I know who they are (laughing)
Coach Jordan: ok well I knew guys who acted that out so I can't say that I fully disagree with the influence that music can have but at the same time its your responsibility to decide if these lyrics are positive or if they are negative. If you watch a movie like Superman, you don't start believing that you can fly do you? That would be ridiculous right? Well why would you try to live out what you hear in a rap song? Doesn't make any sense to me. But I don't like any excuses, not music, tv, movies, not having a father in home, no excuses. It comes a time in every man's life where he has to make choices and decisions that will better his life.