The Sports Dichotomy

I’m going to try my hardest to make an effort to not talk sports on this blog. If there’s anything I’ve learned in writing blog posts across various places in the last 3-4 years, it’s that the majority of readers who like my regular posts don’t care about sports. That said, every once in a while there’s a sports story that has a social message that makes me ask what people are thinking. This is one of those times.

Following a flurry of injuries over the past two seasons, questions surrounded the basketball future of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. After a recent practice and recent minor injuries, Rose was asked how his mindset has changed following his run of injuries. Rose’s response is below.

“I’m good, man. I felt like I’ve been managing myself pretty good. I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out or whatever, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that … when I sit out it’s not because of this year. I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball. Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past. [I’m] just learning and being smart.” – Derrick Rose

I’ve bolded that last part because it seems to be the part of the quote that everyone’s having issue with. Rose gave his quote Wednesday((I’m going to guess it was in the morning based off of when ESPN wrote their article about it, but I’m not positive, as the article I found had a 1pm publish time)), which lead to copious amounts of Sports AnalysisTM on talk radio the following day. Radio hosts and fans alike verbally destroyed Rose, with their basic point being that Rose is a selfish player, and that he should be more committed to his team. Some went as far as to say that Rose should be ashamed for not being on the court for fans who pay good, hard-earned money toward his salary.

It was at that point I was reminded of why I stopped wanting to be a sports radio talk show host.

At one point in my life, I wanted to work for ESPN for a living. I even went to college to get my bachelor’s degree in radio broadcasting because of how badly I wanted to have my own sports talk show. About two years into my time at college, I realized that people care far more about sports than I do((Granted, at this point I was a semester away from graduating, so it was too late to change my major and not royally screw myself financially. That said, I don’t think my alternative options of being a Spanish or geography major would have been much better)). People get really offended when the players playing for their favorite teams don’t live up to their (the fans’) expectations.

If you’re one of the people offended by Rose’s philosophy, or feel that his sports career and living up to his contract are things that are more important than his son’s graduation or a business meeting later in life, I have a single question for you. Would you feel the same way if the person saying those words were a family member? What if it were your best friend, your parents, your child, or your spouse feeling that way about protecting their future? Would you react with the same vitriol and disdain that you do now towards a famous athlete with a large contract?

Of course you wouldn’t((Unless you’re a dick.)). Most people want those they love to not only be healthy and happy now, but also in their future. Just because you don’t know someone personally does not give you the right to take away their future happiness as a trade off for your instant gratification. While athletes are certainly placed in a pantheon that separates them from how many of us have to work day to day at our jobs, this does not take away their basic right to have a happy and healthy future. Anyone claiming otherwise is wrong.