I don't comment on professional sports much, because I have no depth of knowledge there.
Besides, there are so many people already commenting about sports, there's little left unsaid, and it seems piling on to try.
I do watch all the Bulls games, and have for several years.
We try to go a few times a year—we went to the recent game against the Cavs, so my wife could lay eyes upon LeBron James.
And I have actually met Derrick Rose. Quiet man. At least with the press. And for good reason.
This is the thing about the media talking to athletes.
They're famous for spouting the lamest cliched crap. All that "team effort" bullshit, all those "we have to try to score more points than them while keeping them from scoring more than us" obviousness.
Sometimes sports writers cry out for one sentence that is honest, this is real, that is heartfelt.
And then Rose says something, regarding his limited playing time, that is both candid and sensible:
“I feel I’ve been managing myself pretty good. I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out. 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. Just learning and being smart.’’
Sure, in one sense that cuts across the sports ethic. You're supposed to dive headfirst for the ball, not worry about climbing stairs when you're 40. That's not what you pull down the millions for.
But you'd think he spat on the flag.
"That's just flat-out stupid," Charles Barkley said on "Inside the NBA."“Derrick Rose is making $20 million a year. He’s got a couple of bad knees. That’s disrespectful to maids, people who are in the army who go out and kill people and get killed. They got no arms and no legs."
Yes, some people supported him.
"What an honest, reasonable and level-headed answer," Stephen Douglas wrote on "The Big Lead."
So there's no need for me to gild the lily here. I just wanted to observe the hypocrisy of this. Here every sports page in America is wondering aloud whether professional football should continue, given the toll taken by concussions, and at that exact moment one injury-plagued professional athlete admits he thinks about his life to come, and would like to avoid permanently crippling himself, and he's accused of lacking determination, which obviously isn't the case for Rose, who has laboriously built himself back, twice, while maintaining a dignified public demeanor.
Rose said he "couldn't care less" about the criticisms and I hope that's true. But it would seem to be the lesson here is keep your mouth shut and your true thoughts to yourself, and serve up the same bland bromides everybody else parrots. That's a sad lesson.