If sports is a metaphor for real life, what lessons can politically challenged Portland Mayor Sam Adams draw from the previously ostracized tailback LeGarrette Blount of the University of Oregon?
Well, for one, Adams should know that redemption for public figures can be found through time, patience and remarkable performance. We see that in the case of Blount, who sat out most of the UO's season after delivering the sucker punch seen 'round the world during an opening game loss to Boise State. Once Blount was reinstated on the team, he remained on the sidelines for weeks until he was allowed to play against rival Oregon State last week - and he came through with a clutch first down followed by a touchdown.
For Adams, the performance required to change public attitude hasn't yet been witnessed, as evidenced by two recall efforts against him. We think it's time for the mayor to show he has the capacity to regain ground lost in the past year as his administration has been distracted by a sex scandal, the lies he told about it and the ensuing investigations and recall efforts. Yes, Adams has demonstrated appropriate remorse, but he has yet to consistently and publicly exercise the assertive executive leadership he once promised Portland.
Forgiveness for past misdeeds can arise from humility. But for a citizenry in need of leadership, redemption also is tied to hope for a better future.
Imagine that Oregon fans now are looking forward to Blount making a significant contribution toward a Duck victory in the Rose Bowl. Portland citizens likewise could imagine a better future with Adams leading the way. But first they must see evidence that he is demonstrating the type of remarkable leadership that inspires long-term confidence.