A Small Gesture By One Saves the Reputation of an Entire School

A Small Gesture By One Saves the Reputation of an Entire School


On December 12th, two top 20 teams played in a regular season game. The University of Alabama beat the University of Houston with a controversial last-second non-call. The final score was 83-82. Kelvin Sampson, the coach of Houston, got irate. He demanded that the refs review the play. The refs tell him that it is not a reversible call and begin to leave the court. It gets ugly and police are needed to protect the refs from the Houston players. When the Houston players leave the court, one of the assistant coaches kicks a chair and a player knocks over a trash can.

Jamal Shead, a sophomore player for the University of Houston, views the behavior from his teammates. He watches, thinks and then acts. He picks up the trash can and then starts picking up the trash, placing it back in the trash can.

Joe’s Perspective – Poor Leadership: After a tough loss, the emotions can get away from you. It is up to leaders to set the tone. It is up to leaders to calm everyone down. Leaders walk over to the opposing coach, shake hands and say, “Good game.” Kelvin Sampson failed in this situation. He acted like a poor sport and his behavior gave his players permission to act like poor sports too.  People watching that game will only remember one thing – the University of Houston are poor losers and they have no class. You can hear the fans booing the Houston team and their adolescent behavior. Fans, unfairly or fairly, will stereotype “those coaches” and “those athletes” who attend that school. It is a stain on that program and tarnishes the reputation of that university.

Joe’s Perspective – One Sophomore Does the Right Thing: In the midst of all this, one young player saves the day. Jamal Shead keeps his composure. He understands that his teammates are acting “a fool.” If he had walked on by, he would have been lumped in with the rest of the team. Instead, he righted the wrong. It wasn’t his trash and he didn’t empty it onto the floor, but he immediately picked it up. Something tells me that he is not a captain, but he should be. That young man acted with many of the traits we teach in this program – composure, good judgment, integrity and humility. He demonstrated what real leadership looks like. Coach Sampson spent the following day apologizing for his behavior, making formal announcements and writing letters to the Alabama athletic director. That same day, Jamal Shead held his head high. I would be so proud to be his parent.

Your Turn: What lessons do we learn from this situation and from the actions of Jamal Shead?


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  1. It was a classy move on his part to pick up trash, especially when everyone around him were just expressing frustration.

  2. When looking back at the way the coach and some players acted that day teaches us that our actions say more than words, and at any moment your reputation can be ruined but knowing that a player of that team kept his composure and made the right choice to clean up even though he wasn’t in the wrong shows how someone can make a change in one second when it comes to showing what kind of leader you can be

  3. I learned that even in times of struggle, composure must be kept and upheld. You may not be able to help the other people, but as long as you yourself do it, that’s all that matters.

  4. We can learn that no matter what your friends, teammates, coaches, etc do, you can do what’s right. In this example, it would have been easy for him to simply follow the lead of his team and act in poor judgement and sportsmanship. However, Jamal Shead decided to lead and show them what the correct way to act is. You may not like the outcome or ending of a game, but that’s no excuse to act and conduct yourself in the way that Coach Sampson and others did.

  5. I say that this shows that actions are strong and do not go unnoticed. By going back and picking up the garbage and saying good game to the other team shows that he is taking responsibility and being a teammate

  6. being a leader can be the most important person on a team in some cases, even if you’re not the best player on the team you can still have an impact by being a leader.

  7. The lesson that can be learned from this could be that we don’t always have to follow behind others, in this case it would be the coach and other players as athletes we should be able to make decisions that will be remembered. In this situation Jamal did a class act of not letting the emotions override everything that was happening, he was able to hide what he may have been feeling and kept a strong composure, by doing this his teammates, his coach and other athletes should look up to him as someone they should try and be in times of disagreement and or struggle.

  8. We can learn how you do not have to follow when your leaders or even coaches do something you know is morally wrong. You can do the right thing because in the end you know what is right and wrong. Stepping up to do something good like Jamal did is going to sit better with you versus doing something you know is going to affect you negatively.

  9. The lesson that can be learned from this is to do the right thing all the time, like he did when he picked up the trash

  10. Shead’s actions show that it is always the right time to do the right thing. Shead understood that the actions of his coaches and teammates were wrong, and instead of letting it go, he stepped in and did the right thing. Shead’s actions show the impact of doing the right thing.

  11. jamel showed courage and sportsmanship this makes him a leader and i think everyone can something away from this and be a leader and have sportsmanship this only won’t take you far in your spirt but in life

  12. We learn to always be the one to carry yourself better than the person next to you and always to go out with class and don’t be disrespectful

  13. Sometimes is hard to control your emotions, but you need to learn to be able to fake it in front of other people. The coach and all the other players still need to learn it.
    Jamal just did the right thing picking up the trash, he acted like a leader and all his teammates should learn from him

  14. He shows to be a leader by example even when people aren’t watching. He wanted to do the right thing even though his teammates made the wrong decision by letting their emotions get the best of them.

  15. It was the right choice on his part to clean up the trash. Even when his entire team was acting disrespectfully, it stands to his character that he chose to separate himself from that behavior and be a positive example for the fans and potential future basketball players for the school.

  16. One lesson to be learned is that no matter how the masses act we can always choose to be better and hold ourselves to a higher standard

  17. Even after the frustration of his teammates, he still kept his composure and remained respectful. He set an example for the future. And even if he wasn’t the team captain, he still showed great qualities of leadership. I’m glad that he remained calm instead of letting his frustration get ahold of him like it did the rest of his teammates, and chose to do the right thing.

  18. Out of frustration, a team decides to make a line of trash back to the locker rooms. I’m not sure what they were accomplishing by trashing it, but the last teammate, who was the only one decent enough to clean up after his team, kept a positive attitude, and I hope he kept his attitude and got on his team about the mess they made.

  19. i think it was a great act by this player because his attitude not to be embarrassing to the fans because that’s embarrassing to the coaches the fanbase and to the team so it was good that he stopped to pick it up that shows a positive attitude because he wanted to pick it up he did it voluntarily.

  20. this goes back to respect because he respects the school so he cleaned it up he respects the way people veiw him so he cleans it he respects the enviroment he is in

  21. He is being an honest man by cleaning up the trash left behind by his teammates, being honest isn’t just telling the truth, it’s also about your personality. Who you are as a person can mean a lot, an honest person or a dishonest person, your actions can be bad and you won’t be an honest person.

  22. He sowed honesty by knowing that his teammate’s are fools but even then he made the right choice by picking up the trash and showing good sportsmanship.

  23. He has some good integrity because he made sure even after his teammates left he made sure to pick up all the trash when his teammates made it and left without cleaning it up he did.

  24. no matter how much garbage was on the floor he was still being the good person and not like the other kicking stuff around

  25. He has to have the courage to do something all of his teammates did not do and could have been bullied by his teammates or kicked out by the couch because to the couch he did not do what he did and could be making fun of him.

  26. it was a great act that that player cleaned up his teammate’s mess. He had enough courage to act mature and clean up the mess.

  27. he understood that his teammates were mad so he just picked up the trash and used empathy and he wanted good things back to the team not bad

  28. He has the Tolerance to keep going through this because the way the coach acted at the end of this. This is probably not the only time this has happened and has stuck through it because of his love for basketball.

  29. This video shows responsibility because a bench player took responsibility for his former teammate’s actions and picked up what they caused saving the reputation of the school.

  30. this shows responsibility because he knew his teammates were mad and he felt he was responsible to clean it up

  31. I think that this shows responsibility because his teemmates were upset and trached the court so he showed responsibility and picked it up for them.

  32. He showed his ability to be a leader. He showed his teammates how to lead not follow. Overall this demonstrates his maturity above all else.

  33. This is how I aspire to be in with all sporting events of my future, especially college. I know this week there were quite a few of my teammates that started attacking their own teammates because they felt that they were not holding up to their responsibility/job. I would love to be able to bring the sort of mindset that Jamal Shead had with this game. The goal of being part of WSB is to serve GOHS and it’s community, so all of us can take a note from Jamal and help our school as he helped his team.

  34. Jamal knew he could be associated with his team’s bad behavior, but he still did the right thing which takes courage. He did the right thing even when his team didn’t which is very honorable.