There has been a clear push in recent years to change the culture of workers’ comp across the nation with better communication, clearer language and an emphasis on ultimate recovery. This is a difficult task, as the legislative complexities of comp and entrenched interests within the system make this industry a very difficult ship to turn. But recently, we came across a football coach who may just have the silver tongue needed to make that clear communication breakthrough in our industry.
University of Florida Head Coach Dan Mullen recently made news when attempting to clarify his weapons policy for the media. This issue came to head when one of his players was found with a loaded AR-15 in the back of his vehicle. It was there, according to the player, for “protection from the locals.” It is important to note that the possession appeared to be legal and the player was released without charges. The problem, it seems, was that this incident apparently violated Mullens “No Weapons” policy in place for his team. It was in his clarification of this no weapons policy that we see great potential for him in the world of workers’ compensation.
Mullens explained during a press conference that, “I have a no-weapons policy, but it’s not like you’re not allowed to have a gun. We live in a country where that’s one of your rights.”
He went on to say, “It’s a no-weapons policy in certain situations of how to be educated to not have (issues). No weapons, that’s easy to remember. If I write out all the different (scenarios) — no weapons in these situations or have a weapon for a hunting situation, if I’m doing this, I store it at this location, I keep it here, I have gun safety rules and knowledge — that’s not a quick catch to them to register in their mind. Does that make sense?”
Perfect sense. In fact, I only had to read that about 50 times to understand what it meant, which was far less effort than it takes to interpret some comp statutes around the nation. What I (ultimately) believe the coach was saying is that it is easier to just say “no weapons allowed” than it is to define where, when and how a weapon may be stored and utilized.
Or he had suffered a mild stroke. Whichever.
In other words, “no guns” essentially means “no guns on the field,” which is kind of a shame. Given recent years’ performance of the Gators, those weapons might make a positive difference in their offensive capabilities.
But that is not really the point. What we have found here is a coach who has the ability to break down the communication barrier that continues to dog the workers’ compensation industry. If this whole football thing doesn’t work out for him, he may have a real future in politics; especially a future that includes writing new comp legislation.