I saw this short clip of the Argentinian football (“soccer”) team players celebrating their victory against Brazil in “Copa America” – the South American variant of the Euros.
A few seconds in, we hear one of the players begin singing a song that makes fun of Brazil. Lionel Messi – Argentina’s star captain and arguably the greatest player of all time – stops him immediately. “No no” – he nods vigorously as he walks away.
Even after winning the final against Brazil Lionel Messi stops De Paul of singing a song which makes fun of Brazil.— Stan (@FutbolStan_) July 12, 2021
My captain. 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Dno244WHsz
It is a powerful moment for many reasons. It speaks to the importance of leadership in reinforcing culture. By immediately saying no, the Captain made it clear that “this is not how we do things here.”
Messi also underscored a simple idea – we can celebrate constructively. Enjoying our own victory doesn’t have to include mocking someone else’s failure or defeat. It is an idea that is easy to forget as we go through our lives – especially in competitive endeavors.
Finally, it is a reminder that money and success do not guarantee class.
And that is exactly what that was – a moment of class.