Vick, Plax, Pacman and you have frenemies

We keep asking the question: “Why do athletes make mistakes when they have so much going for them?”

What you fail to remember is that athletes — or entertainers, for that matter — are people. They didn’t land here from Mars with superhuman talent. They are just plain old us.

The answer to the behavioral issues is very simple: Frenemies. Some of you closet Sex In The City fans also have heard this phrase, but you’re too macho to fess up.

The truth of the matter is we all have frenemies constantly working against us. Frenemies: Friends who are the enemy!

I’ve reduced frenemies to three categories, and if you take an honest, close look at the failures in your life, I guarantee you that at least one, if not all three of the frenemies, were at play.

Frenemy No. 1: Family. Whether intentional or unintentional, family can be a contributing factor in our failures. In some cases, they can enable dysfunctional behavior by not providing the tough love that is needed.

Tough love is an honest, love-based assessment, generally with no preconditions. Tough love, in many cases, can only be rendered by a family member because they have a vested interest in our success.

On the other hand, family members can serve as vampires, only seeking to suck the life right out of us. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent when someone comes into fortune or fame.

Frenemy No. 2: Friends or co-workers. The best way to characterize them is as fair-weather friends. As long as things are going right and the frenemy is getting what he or she wants, it’s all good.

Here’s the tricky part of Frenemy No. 2 — they will be there in times of need to provide counsel, but they will never provide advice that’s contrary to their interest. And that leads to …

Frenemy No. 3: This is the friend who is the enemy on the inside of each of us. This is the most dangerous of the three. This is the voice within us that wants what it wants and doesn’t care about the consequences.

The reason Frenemy No. 3 is so dangerous is because it’s the same voice that has encouraged us all when others didn’t believe in us. It’s a familiar voice.

On a side note, I would add that some of you have seven or eight voices floating around and you need Dr. Phil.

Michael Vick (left), Adam Jones (center) and Plaxico Burress have made news for the wrong reasons. (Associated Press)

Michael Vick (left), Adam Jones (center) and Plaxico Burress have made news for the wrong reasons. (Associated Press)

So today, my friends, I just want to warn you — and, more importantly, you need to warn your kids — to beware of the frenemies.

Now before you dismiss this, let’s take a quick look at well-documented cases of frenemies at work:

  • Former Falcons QB Michael Vick, who has lost millions in salary and endorsements over a dogfighting ring. Let’s check his frenemies: Family, friends and his own poor judgment. Frenemy No. 3 was the cat on the inside who told Vick that dogfighting wasn’t a big deal and that if he got caught, he would receive probation like 99.99 percent of others who were involved in something similar.
  • Pacman “I can’t stay out of trouble” Jones.
  • And then there’s Plaxico “I shot myself in the leg” Burress.

And this concept applies to everyone from entertainers such as Britney Spears to politicians such as Mark Sanford.

Now as a survivor myself, I want to be clear. I’m not here attempting to judge anyone. Many of the aforementioned aren’t bad people, they’re just vexed with frenemies.

— Jamie Dukes

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