Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota just gave a press conference I won't forget anytime soon.
What did he do? Was it an expletive-filled rant? Did he throw one of his coaches or teammates under the bus?
Not even close.
Mariota is making headlines because he apologized for the way he treated the media at his last press conference.
"Real quick, I just want to say I'm sorry for the way I handled the press conference," said Mariota. "I know not everybody that was there is here. But I was rude and inappropriate, and I just want to say I apologize for it."
After a moment of stunned silence, one reporter felt moved to speak up: "I'm not speaking for everybody, but I didn't find it rude or inappropriate."
"I appreciate that," Mariota responded.
He then went on to explain:
"It's funny, because I got an earful from my mom. That's how I was raised and I appreciate you guys for understanding."
Let's give credit where credit is due: first, to Mariota's mother for instilling the values in her son that we'd could stand to see more of in the world today.
And second, to Mariota himself--for showing us a real-life demonstration of emotional intelligence.
This apology is worth drawing attention to, because manners like this simply aren't as common as they used to be. Here are just a few reasons why Mariota's communication style is worthy of imitation:
Authenticity creates trust. We are drawn to those who we feel are what they claim to be, genuine, the ones who "keep it real."
Authentic people aren't afraid to share their true thoughts and feelings. Mariota may be a battle-hardened professional football player, but he's also a son who wants to make his mom proud. He wasn't afraid to let that sensitive side show through the tough exterior.
It's that genuineness that will cause others to follow.
It promotes respect.
True leadership requires that you practice what you preach and set the example: You can talk about respect and integrity until you're blue in the face, but it won't mean anything when you curse out a family member, friend, or colleague.
By showing respect first, Mariota commands respect from others--his teammates, the media, his children, and pretty much everyone else.
It shows humility.
Being humble doesn't mean that you lack self-confidence or the ability to stand up for yourself. And it certainly doesn't imply weakness; in fact, you may need to muster up all the strength you have just to utter those two words: "I'm sorry."
Rather, humility shows character. When you're willing to admit your mistakes, you make a big statement about how you view yourself in relation to others. This naturally draws others closer to you, building trust and loyalty.
As a parent to two wonderful kids, I know how exhausting it can be to train them right. You're like the coach of your own team: Every lesson you teach, every effort to prepare them, makes for another tiring day of practice.
But those lessons add up.
Eventually, those kids will be put in a situation where all that training comes into play, where they get the chance to show what they're made of. That's the game you've been getting them ready for. And when they perform well, your heart swells with joy--making it all worth the effort.
Kudos, Mrs. Mariota. I'm sure this time, the press conference has got you smiling big.
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A version of this article was originally published on Inc.com.