The new year is an opportunity to experience inner reflection and self-awareness beyond shedding the predictable stubborn holiday weight which now has the gym more crowded than usual.

CNBC spoke with David Schwarzbach, Chief Financial Officer of Yelp, who said in part, “I’ve discovered that taking a few minutes after lunch to weed the garden or walk the dog is the perfect antidote to Zoom fatigue.”

At Square, Naomi Wheeless, Global Head of Customer Success, believes “As leaders, we often act first to reduce burnout on our teams — and try to convince ourselves and our employees that we’re invincible. In 2023, I’m resolving to tackle my own executive burnout, and to be more authentic about it.”

While some executives are changing their personal habits for the better, other public figures have used their power and influence to evade accountability completely.

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GOP leaders and business executives like UFC President Dana White often follow the politically perverted “Too Big to Fail” playbook, removing themselves from the judgmental public eye just long enough to outlast the news cycle and return to record profits like nothing ever happened at all. 

After TMZ made the video public on New Year’s Eve, White took immediate accountability for slapping his wife, Anne, saying, “You’ve heard me say for years, ‘There’s never ever an excuse for a guy to put his hands on a woman,’ and now here I am on TMZ talking about it.”

After stating the matter would be handled in private, White has yet to comment further on the public fight.

Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Vince McMahon canceled and returned himself

While debates between professional wrestling being real or fake have lasted since its conception, according to Macrotrends, as of January 10, 2023, World Wrestling Entertainment is valued at a very real $6.5 billion. 

A man whose on-screen persona often blurred the line between reality and performance, since 1972, CEO and owner, Vince McMahon, has helmed the company started by his father, and outlasted controversy after controversy.

Yet, in July of last year, he was forced to temporarily leave after news broke that he paid out $14.6 million in hush money to several women who alleged sexual misconduct between the years 2006 and 2022.

After six months away, it is widely reported that McMahon returned to the company in December to oversee its potential sale.

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It was also reported that his daughter, Co-CEO and Stephanie McMahon resigned as her father returned to the company amid the very fresh controversy.

Dana White had no problem with Joe Rogan saying n-word

After a video leaked of Joe Rogan uttering the n-word over multiple podcasts in February 2022, White stated he would have allowed the UFC on-air announcer to work without missing a show.

As of June 2022, the UFC brings in over $1 billion annually, enough wealth for men like White, McMahon, and Rogan to escape the faint public outcry and garner support from hardcore fans at the same time.

Regarding his own domestic abuse caught on camera, White stated in part, “There’s going to be repercussions in your personal life, but none in your professional life.’ But what matters other than my personal life? Nothing. Nothing matters except for my personal life. This is great, love doing it. Don’t have to do it.”

Jerry Jones has been given a hall pass by Dallas media over 1957 school photo

On September 9, 1957, while a sophomore at Arkansas’ North Little Rock High, a mob of White boys blocked six Black students from entering the school – and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, 14, stood in the crowd.

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This was three years after the Supreme Court struck down segregated schools.

Also in September 1957, just across town, Little Rock Central High was grabbing headlines across the country as angry mobs and the state’s national guard put themselves between that school and another cohort of Black students – the Little Rock Nine.

Considering the majority of American sports leagues are run by conservative-leaning White men, the NFL product we see is often a reflection of the hollow and whitewashed versions of society, featuring helmet messages that read, “Inspire Change, End Racism, Choose Love,” among others.

Committed to unified gestures of nothingness, Jones clumsily knelt with his team in 2017 in a show of faux unity with victims of police brutality.

Commenting on the 1957 photo, Jones, 80, said in part, “I didn’t know at the time the monumental event that was going on, and I’m sure glad that we’re a long way from that. That would remind me just to continue to do everything we can to not have those kinds of things happen.”

And just like that, the mainstream sports media moved on without exhaustively questioning Jones with nearly the same energy they consistently have for Black sports figures.

When you’re Black, it costs to be cancelled

As Kyrie Irving and Kanye West have learned in the past few months, the penalty pendulum swings heaviest on those outside of the good ol’ boys club.

West in particular, has lost access to resources he once built, without any foreseeable path back to his multi-billion dollar empire.

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While West was financially attacked and reputation irrevocably damaged, White men who have said the n-word, floated racist conspiracy theories, caused physical harm, and paid hush money for decades are able to go on without missing a beat.

Cancel culture hits the culture different

In 2014, former NBA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, and his estranged wife, Shelly, agreed to sell the franchise for an NBA record $2 billion at the time.

Just in December, ex-Phoenix Suns owner, Robert Sarver, made a deal for over $4 billion dollars to sell the Arizona franchise.

While Sarver and Sterling made statements clearly derogatory towards Black people, they were allowed to be made whole on their way out the door. And though Kanye West’s words and continued condemnation of Jewish people was unjustifiable, when you compare his treatment to that those men who also spewed hate speech, the difference is Black and White.

Accountability can look like many things, but it cannot look like the offender left as the sole arbiter of their sincerity and pharmacist of their self-prescribed medicine. 

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...