Jimmy Butler’s Authoritarian Personality and Catharsis

Alex Kennedy

On Monday, November 12th, 2018, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded away Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and Jerryd Bayless. This trade was a culmination of many different issues on conflicts within the Minnesota organization, all stemming from either the actions, or frustrations of Butler. From yelling at teammates, to his frustrations with the Timberwolves’ performance in the 2018 playoffs, Butler was never opposed to voicing his concerns and causing problems between he and his teammates. The main problems and roots of conflict found here in this situation are Jimmy Butler’s authoritarian personality as well his catharsis.



An authoritarian personality is defined as a personality type in which one has an obsession with respecting authorityand views people of outgroups as inferior. In the situation of Butler and the Timberwolves, he views himself as the authority figure. Someone who is authoritarian will often talk down unto someone of a separate group or, for the case of Jimmy Butler, people they view as lesser than them. Butler viewed his teammates as all lesser than them, specifically star center Karl-Anthony Towns and starting wing Andrew Wiggins. Towns and Wiggins were both first overall picks who came into this league with a sense of confidence from their peers due to their natural talents. Both were dominant college players who had everything handed to them in the NBA from massive contracts to immense fame. Everything that is, except for wins on the court. Butler was a very different tale. He was the 30th overall pick and had a lot to prove since not many fans knew him and even expert draft analysts such as Tyler Ingle were at best comparing him to an average role-player such as Wesley Matthews. This is why, as an authoritarian, he not only sees himself as superior but also views his teammate, Towns and Wiggins, as members of an outgroup. Wiggins and Towns have all of the God-given talent in the world and did not have to put in as much effort as Butler did to be in the situation they currently are. Jimmy Butler worked for every opportunity he got beginning on the Chicago Bulls. In his first season he only averaged 2.6 points per game in not even 9 minutes of play time. Towns on the other hand was averaging 18 points in 32 minutes per contest and the year before that, Wiggins was averaging almost 17 points in 36 minutes for his rookie campaign. Butler had to improve every year, to the point that he even won the 2014-2015 NBA Most Improved Player award and made his first All-Star team. Because of his insane work ethic due to the chip on his shoulder, Butler viewed himself as a superior player to his fellow Timberwolves.  They were members of an outgroup that he did not respect because they never had to put in as much effort as him. Rather than being handed his opportunities, Butler worked for every chance he ever received and successfully made a name for himself. These are the reasons why Butler developed and authoritarian personality.

Catharsis is defined as expressing one’s emotions with the intention of providing significant emotional relief. For some people, catharsis is not a destructive thing. For many people airing out their emotions can be a therapeutic experience for not just themselves but for those around them as well because they can come to an understanding of what a problem may be and work together in order to improve the situation. For the Minnesota Timberwolves, the catharsis of their star forward was nothing less than detrimental. This was not the first time that Jimmy Butler airing his grievances got him in trouble. Back in 2017 when he was still a member of the Chicago Bulls he was fined and benched for criticizing his teammates saying that they “don’t play hard all the time”. This is just one of the earliest examples of his catharsis causing tension between himself and the organization he played for. Things really came to a major conflict in the summer of 2018 after he had approached the organization and requested that he be traded. Mere minutes after voicing his request, an unnamed person approached him demanding that he still attend practice. Jimmy detailed this altercation on an episode of his teammate JJ Redick’s podcast on December 10th, 2018. He noted how after being told to attend practice he responded by sayingyou’re not going to tell me what I’m gonna do. If I choose to practice, I’ll choose to practice”. After a back-and-forth Jimmy eventually did end up attending practice but it quickly became one of the most infamous practices in the history of the NBA. At this practice, Jimmy barged in and quickly assembled a scrimmage game where he took the third string players of the Timberwolves onto his team and they went against the starters including Taj Gibson, Jeff Teague, and of course Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler’s team dominated this game even though Butler himself “only shot once”. Throughout this scrimmage Butler would repeatedly yell at and reprimand players of the other team and even at one point started proclaiming to their GM “you fucking need me” and “you can’t win without me”. He expressed an obscene amount of emotion and although it may have temporarily relieved his emotional tension, it only made the situation on the Timberwolves so much more tense. Jimmy Butler’s catharsis was a major reason as to why his tenure on the Timberwolves was controversial and short-lived. Had he not been such a hothead and kept himself under control he could have become a proper mentor to Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins and they could be a perennial team in the Western Conference.

            Before the trade on November 12th, the Timberwolves had a poor record of four wins and eight losses. Since then, they have improved to nine wins and six losses for a total record of 13 and 14, a record that has them just two games out of making the playoffs and will likely improve as the season goes on. This team has begun to work together better and perform as a unit. They did not add any players that are more talented than Jimmy Butler, but by adding roster pieces who are willing to work hard and cooperate with everyone, the Timberwolves are becoming a solid team that have to be respected whenever another team has to play against them. By simply removing an authoritarian personality that has a strong leaning towards embracing catharsis, the Minnesota Timberwolves are a better, and happier organization. As for Jimmy Butler, he’s doing well in Philadelphia and the team has been performing well with him on the roster. There are yet to be any incidents reported in Philadelphia so clearly his authoritarian personality and his catharsis have either not taken form in the City of Brotherly Love or he’s finally learned to calm down and play his role without insulting anyone or bringing them down.










Myers, D.G. (2015). Exploring Social Psychology: 8th Edition.


The JJ Redick Podcast [Audio blog interview]. (2018, December 10).


Weinstein, A. (2017, January 28). Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade benched, fined for remarks. Retrieved pppfrom http://www.sportingnews.com/us/nba/news/jimmy-butler-dwyane-wade-rajon-rondo-pppinappropriate-remarks-chicago-bulls/1cd98k1ymwc5813bqau0o894td


Wojnarowski, A. (2018, October 11). Jimmy Butler rips into Wolves front office, teammates during ppppractice. Retrieved from http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/24950981/jimmy-butler-heated-ppppractice-timberwolves

Tumblr Soon to Ban all NSFW Content on its Platform

Out of all of the more recent news stories regarding media and the internet, the one that would probably have the biggest and most immediate effect on people would have to be what has recently happened in Tumblr, a very popular social media website. What was essentially an attempt to get rid of pedophiles and underage material is being turned into a complete purge of all pornographic and not save for work material on the website as well as the blogs that produce them. Virtually all social media platforms have measures that are taken in order to prevent such a thing, but Tumblr wend to a completely different level. Most people feel that this might have been a bit overkill for the issue compared to what other social media platforms do when encountering this type of problem. It was stated, from Jeff D’Onofrio the CEO of Tumblr, that the major pros and cons of the decision were closely looked at and it was decided that the ban was the best thing for the website to do for this specific issue. The goal, he said, was to help make a “better, more positive Tumblr” where people feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the vast number of artists and sex involved workers would be able to express themselves freely like the other users.  This way that Tumblr is dealing with the problem and threat of underage pornographic is in complete disregard of the many, many sex workers and artists who make a living easily because of the website. Because of the complete disregard to those who might be adult content creators and use Tumblr to help make a living for themselves, this act is completely discriminatory to these people. Those who are in charge of Tumblr are showing that they don’t actually care for a very large percentage of their site’s population by doing this sort of thing.

Along with the mass exodus of artists and sexual workers, a very large number of pedophiles are moving to different social media platforms, primarily Twitter. Many of them are attempting to change their labels by calling themselves minor attracted people (M.A.P.) and saying that they are non-contacts well as claiming that pedophilia is a valid sexuality. These people have even faked that members of the LGBT had added a P to represent pedophiles, but this was quickly shown to be a lie. This is a tactic that these people are using in order to be accepted to the in-group. They may believe that, if they are able to become part of the in-group, pedophilia might be normalized and thought of as a valid sexuality so that they can be left to their own devices with this sort of thing.


Tumblr to ban all adult content. (2018, December 8). Retrieved December 5, 2018, from https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/tumblr-ban-all-adult-content-n943226

Discrimination in the Georgia Primaries


The southern state of Georgia is a well known red state and has been known a such for quite a while. This affiliation simply means that the state is more likely to have a majority vote for the republican party. Typically when we think of a state being red or blue we think of this in terms of the electoral college which is the system that determines federal elections by taking into account the vote of an elected representative(s) from each state. This standing can also have an effect on the local elections within a state though, there are many states that have not seen a democrat in office for decades.  Georgia is one of these states, but Stacey Abrams sought to change this in November when she ran for Secretary of State against Brian Kemp this November. Unfortunately for her and for the Democrats of Georgia she did not win, but there are many people who are suspicious that discrimination, in group bias, and an authoritarian personality played factors in her loss. (Stracqualursi, 2018)

There are rumors of discrimination within the voter laws during this past election in Georgia. Discrimination is unjustified negative behavior toward a group or its members. While there is no direct proof of racial or gender profiling, there are some suspicious factors that play into this idea. Brian Kemp, who ran against Abrams in this election, very passionately worked to weed out voters by taking many voters off of the voter registery for “the crime of not voting enough”  says Joan Walsh. (Walsh,  2018) He was also reported to fight to get may absentee ballots invalidated if they were not completely identical to their signature on record. While this sounds reasonable many voters were invalidated by simply a missing initial or hyphen in their name. Discrimination is seen in this situation in an unusual way, instead of discriminating by race or national origin- though it could be argued that those with foreign names could be easily taken off the roster due to misspellings- there was discrimination based on things like frequency of voting. New voters or different voters were discriminated against by having their rights taken away simply because they did something different. For clarification “ingroup “Us”—a group of people who share a sense of belonging, a feeling of common identity.” The ingroup in this situation could be the typical voter. Someone who votes in almost every election and votes in person. This is not only the person who a politician already in office would most likely relate to, but it is also the group that most likely voted for him in the last election. These are his people so under the guise of protecting their rights he can reasonably take people off of the voter registry that are in the out group, maybe they are new to voting or only vote when someone they particularly like is running. This would not only make them a threat to his campaign, but also something that he neither relates to or understand garnering them no sympathy when it comes time to decide how best to judge absentee ballots.

Authoritarian Personality is another theory that could have played a part in Abrams’ loss this November. Authoritarian personality is a personality that is disposed to favor obedience to authority and intolerance of outgroups and those lower in status. Because Kemp was already in a position of power and had a majority of votes without the inclusion of absentee ballots he had an aura of authority over Abrams. This led to his opinion about how absentee ballots should be weighed being taken more seriously and therefore taking precedent over hers. This shows the dangers of authoritarian personality in politics- if a personality is too authoritative then its ideas may overshadow those with a more reasonable approach. Just because Kemp was in a position of authority did not give him the right to take voters off the registry, but because of his position he commanded respect and obedience. Whereas Abrams who could have changed the game for voting rights in Georgia went unheard. Even when she backed another candidate who had less authority than her, their voices combined could not overwhelm that of Kemp. Kemp also had the power of the law behind him, those with Authoritarian Personality have a great respect for rule following as well as authority. Though the Georgia court had ruled to allow voters to send in absentee ballots despite their signatures not corresponding with those on record, Kemp had such a firm respect for the pre established rules that this did not strike him as correct therefore he fought even harder to change this. This shows Authoritarian personality because of his need to abide by the rules as well as his need for respect due to his position of authority.



Stracqualursi, V. (2018, November 07). Stacey Abrams refuses to concede Georgia governor’s race, hoping for runoff. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/07/politics/georgia-governors-race-stacey-abrams/index.html

Walsh, J. (2018, December 05). Georgia Voters Lose Out on a Secretary of State Who Would Have Protected Their Voting Rights. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://www.thenation.com/article/georgia-voting-stacey-abrams-john-barrow/

Myers, D. G., & Twenge, J. M. (2018). Exploring social psychology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

-Isabelle Murphy










Effects of Providing Support via Social Media Platforms -Blog II

In the weeks since my last blog post, Dr. Gosnell and I have made several amendments to our original research plan. Currently, much of our time has been focused on a study we began in the Spring of 2018 which focused on the effects of interpersonal experience. During the “in lab” portion of this study two participants are invited to take an online survey assessing the participants initial mood. After the survey, the participants take part in two interactive conversations. The first conversation focuses on an impersonal topic, and the participants are expected to maintain the conversation for three minutes. The second conversation requires one of the participants to share a personal experience and for the second participant to relate to their partner, offering support or asking follow up questions. This conversation is then coded based upon the participant’s conversation; their world count, word choice and general participation are all accounted for.

This study serves as a basis for our Spring 2019 study. We are currently proposing a study based on the effects of support provision via social media, specifically Facebook. Similarly to our Spring & Fall study, students will have the opportunity to provide support “in the moment.” Where the new project differs is its focus on memory and retention of prior support that is both shared and received. Facebook, in addition to other social media, serves as an archive of shared information. Ultimately, Facebook serves as a sort of repository for information sharing and the exchange of support. This will allow us to track the effects of provisional support over a period of time, rather than just assessing the support provided during one, hypothetical conversation.

Dr. Gosnell and I communicate each day via email, meeting in person every few weeks to discuss progress made on the IRB proposal. This coming January Dr. Gosnell and I will meet weekly to narrow the focus of our study and enumerate the in-lab portion of the study. Thus far, communication has been one of the most necessary steps in making continuous progress in this study. We plan to continue to revitalize this study to incorporate any additional stimulus, while narrowing the scope to allow for the most accurate and concentrated area of study.

Winter Nationals Are Coming

USA Swimming announced in March that Winter Nationals would take place from November 28th to December 1st in Greensboro, North Carolina (2018 Winter). The meet will be swum long course meters instead of short course yards in order to let the maximum amount of swimmers gain a chance to reach a 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials cut. This is very different than most years at Nationals because previously Winter Nationals was not supposed to count towards Olympic Trial qualifications. Winter National is a long course meters’ event twice before, once in 2011 and again in 2015 (2018 Winter). Winter Nationals marks the opening of the qualifying period for Olympic Trials in 2020, the dates are still to be determined but will again take place in Omaha, Nebraska (2018 Winter). This is considered a big meet for any swimmer trying to get a head start on getting a trials cut from ages 15 and over, and a lot comes with this meet such as stress, lack of sleep and pushing their bodies to the limit, it is highly competitive.

When looking at the articles being written about the up and coming swimmers as well as the more well-known swimmers there is a common theme in the articles written. Those who are writing the articles are guilty of confirmation bias as well as availability heuristic, confirmation bias can be defined as the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of ones existing beliefs or theories (Confirmation bias).

Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inference toward confirmation of the idea being looked at. It actively has the decision maker seek out and assign evidence that confirms their ideas and ignore evidence that could disprove their idea (Confirmation bias). While looking at Winter Nationals the writers of many articles use confirmation bias to speak about swimmers who have been around longer verse the up and coming swimmers; such as, in swimswam.com it speaks about how Katie Ledecky is going to make a splash at Nationals because that’s what they believe but Destin Lasco is portrayed as a questionable racer for the meet (5 Storylines). These beliefs are because people truly believe in Ledecky due to her long lasting career in the swim industry unlike Lasco who only joined a couple years ago. The writer also does not put any rebuttal or questioning when it comes to Ledecky versus Lasco where the tone is very different (5 Storylines).

Availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on the immediate examples of a situation that come to mind when looking at a topic, decision or concept (Cherry, K). The way availability heuristic works is that if something can be recalled then it must be important or at least more important than the alternative solutions or judgments. Under the availability heuristic people tend to heavily weigh their judgments towards more recent information making new opinions biased towards the latest news (Cherry, K). We can see this again when looking at articles written about Winter Nationals, many people are talking about the swimmers who did very well at the last Olympics instead of speaking about swimmers who are up and coming who are very obviously going to demolish the competition. This is because in many people’s minds they only remember the big names like Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps, when really there are many more talented swimmers competing at this meet (5 Storylines).

Confirmation bias and availability heuristic are very prominent within the swimming industry and many other sports, due to Nationals being this week it has become more prominent on what the effects of these terms really have on how the swimmers will do. Confirmation bias can affect the athlete’s heads and truly change from getting a cut time to losing the race, this is because when confirmation bias occurs an athlete will begin to believe what is being said about them and will do better or worse based on what is said. An example outside of swimming would be giving a math test if you say that girls usually do worse than boys, the girls are actually less likely to do well (Confirmation bias). Availability heuristic works very closely with confirmation bias working against most up and coming swimmers, since these swimmers have no preconceived ideas written about them there is more room to question their abilities verse an Olympic swimmer who has won gold medals. Overall these two terms create a unique situation for the swimmers going to Winter Nationals this year. The question is, will they prove the bias to be right or will they fight against these ideas and do well? We shall see!



2018 Winter Nationals Will Be in Greensboro (in Long Course). (2018, September 25). Retrieved from https://swimswam.com/2018-winter-nationals-will-be-in-greensboro-in-long-course/

5 Storylines To Watch At the 2018 U.S. Winter Nationals. (2018, November 28). Retrieved from https://swimswam.com/5-storylines-to-watch-at-the-2018-u-s-winter-nationals/

Cherry, K. (n.d.). How the Availability Heuristic Affects Your Decision-Making. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/availability-heuristic-2794824

Confirmation bias. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/terms/confirmation_bias.htm

Skip to toolbar