Keller @ Large: Why Manners Matter

BOSTON (CBS) – If you haven’t had a chance to sit down in front of the computer with the kids and watch the end of the Lions-49ers game from Sunday, try to make time to do so.

Watch: The Video

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

It’s the perfect teachable moment for a discussion of manners, why we have them, why they matter, what they say about is when we display good manners, and what they say about us when we don’t.

For those without a clue what I’m talking about, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh ran across the field for the traditional post-game handshake with Detroit coach Jim Schwartz on Sunday, but instead of simply shaking his adversary’s hand politely and moving on, he all but body-slammed the guy and cursed at him.

Super classy!

Schwartz could have taken the high road and walked away, leaving Harbaugh all alone in the jerk hall of fame, but he chose to chase Harbaugh off the field, apparently cursing all the way.

What a couple of overgrown maroons, right?

Even by the standards of the NFL, where taunting, showboating, and other amateurish displays of poor breeding are common – in more ways than one – this was an especially juvenile moment.

But that’s not the way some are seeing it.

The league says there will be no fines because there was no actual fisticuffs.

And several players have said they found the whole episode amusing.


The most basic element of sportsmanship – the post-game handshake – is turned into a farce by alleged professionals on national TV, and no one in the game seems bothered.

They simply don’t care about manners, and that is the most telling sign there is of ignorance and classlessness.

When you watch the video, tell your kids the truth – that manners make the man, that class is something anyone can have if they work at it, and that it’s worth having as an emblem of civility and good breeding.

If you agree, you’d BETTER tell the kids – because it seems the NFL won’t.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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  • sellsword

    Keller makes a valid point and I completely agree. Both men are responsible for their actions. Harbaugh should not get a pass for his immature, “enthusiasm” and Schwartz overreacted (although I’d be upset too if I was pushed and cursed at by another head coach…)
    A point was made yesterday by some TV sports analysts, these men represent the face of biliion dollar NFL franchises and did not act accordingly. It takes 5 seconds to shake hands, win or lose, at the end of a contest. Show some self-control and self-respect. It’s just a game….
    P.S. – with due respect, Jon Keller or his staff should proofread their articles as this one appears to have mistakes.

  • jaygee

    Let’s get real here. How can you teach manners to kids when they see hockey players fighting all of the time, parents at children’s sporting events acting like buffoons and bullying by people of all ages? This is professional sport where it’s about money and survival. Good manners is merely an afterthought.

  • emom

    OH JON,,,,,TISK TISK TISK,,,,, We are no longer on the correct road to civility.. OH NO,, the days of June Cleaver, Opie, Happy Days, & little House on the Prairie, have long since disappeared….. This is the time of GET OUT OF MY FACE, GET IN YOUR FACE, THROWING MANNERS TO THE WIND, and people simply being obnoxious , rude, selfish, self centered, and well walking away feeling self righteous that they are always right… AHHHH the days when manners meant something , were children grew up knowing they could not get away with much, OH NOT today. And we are to allow our kids to idolize these same people, I find it also very difficult to teach a child manners since they encounter so many of their peers that act very similar like these two DUDES did.. It show extremely poor sportsmanship, lack of control, and bullying.. A problem getting out of control… It is also the same mannerism that is displayed on the road,, when people resort to person conflict instead of simply talking rational or walking away before it gets out of control,,,
    What ever happened to the HIGH FIVE, Hand shakes, or other simply ways men or women handled a problem,, They worked and got results.. OH if a child did something and a neighbor saw it you would be sure to know they would call your parents, invite them up for tea and discuss with you about what they saw.. MOM WAS GRATEFULL THEY DID THIS.. the old “OUT OF SITE OUT OF MIND ” didn’t work….. now its WHO THE HELL CARES, KIDS WILL BE KIDS , YEAH but those kids grow up to be these two knot heads, acting like complete buffoons, JACK A **es and sending the wrong message to our youth Oh and lets not forget many of the adults,,,,, YEAH GREAT ROLL MODELS …………………… NOT..
    And so many wonder why there is so many problems today… HELLO LOOK IN THE MIRROR, you are creating the problem by never addressing it in the first place.
    My kid acts like that I will bust his hynie,,,,, Respect is also EARNED not just thrown around like words……Too much LACK of RESPECT in this world…..

  • tsal

    This IMHO relates to the role model topic the other day First and foremost manners are the first impression you give and then leave a lasting impact. They just were natural in my home growing up as they were in the homes of my friends. They were not “forced” on us but were simply a way of life. My first thought was that people in the spotlight have an obligation as role models. But as I thought back, my all time sports hero and idol despised booing from fans. He also had some very poor ways of reacting to the boos that certainly did not set an example for young fans. While I realized that booing was a complete lack of manners, I also realized tossing a bat into the crowd because you were angry was equally as bad.

    If kids are taught manners from the start and in the home, they know what is right and what is wrong. The lack of manners today – again in my opinion – doesn’t originate on the sports field – it originates in the home.

    Jon, you are right – you had better tell your kids but if they are old enough to be watching the game you should have told them before now.

  • mikey

    Spoiled egomaniacs.

  • tsal

    Jon – I finally had an opportunity to watch the video last night and having talked to my SIL am not sure but think I see a completely different story than was written here. It appears in his exuberance which you can hardly blame him for Harbaugh shook Schwartz’s hand a bit hard and clapped him on the back but as my SIL pointed out – that is not abnormal. You said Harbaugh swore. Do we know that? If he did then I can see your point. If he didn’t then I think we saw a man caught up in excitement that I could hear even in the voice of the announcers. In that case it would appear Schwartz overreacted. Just wondering and don’t have answers. My SIL said that Harbaugh did apologize afterwards for shaking his hand too hard, etc.

  • Dave_D

    What I saw (and continue to see) was a winning coach who exhibited some exuberance (kind of refreshing in contrast to cold-fish Belichick) and a losing coach who took offense (and then really acted like a loser). No big deal at that point. But then the announcers felt compelled to go on and on about it. And ,Jon, you seem to have bought into this non-story. The video clip does not support your analysis (pretty much par for the course with you lately). Were you a little short of material for your .commentary yesterday? Teachable moment? Maybe. But ,you got the subject wrong.

    • tsal

      Dave_D – that’s what I saw too but I think different people are seeing different things. My son-in-law, who is both a huge and very knowledgeable football fan, thought that even though he was excited Harbaugh went way beyond appropriate. It seems Jon and my SIL interpreted it one way while you and I interpreted it another. I think part of the teachable moment should be understanding that every person not only sees things differently but is entitled to do so and certainly does not deserve condemnation for expressing what he sees.

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