The Respect We Owe Athletes

Sometimes we forget that athletes are human beings. I found myself feeling bad for, while at the same time laughing at, LeBron James for the exchange below that occurred on Christmas. A Warriors fan sitting courtside was mocking LeBron James for “crying” about the ref’s call. The situation changed quickly when LeBron turned around and saw the fan, who quickly changed her posture out of embarrassment.

lebron james

I thought the exchange was hilarious. But I also felt bad for James. And therein lies the source of my ambivalence: sometimes I forget that athletes are human beings because of the way we have made commodities of them. Think about the ways we speak of athletes in daily sports talk:

  • “Let’s trade Player A + 1 draft pick for Player B!”
  • “Player C is underforming so let’s cut him.”
  • “Player D is a bum!”

I guess I just wonder … did LeBron go home that night feeling genuinely hurt by the woman who mocked him? Certainly he is a public figure and he makes a lot of money. But for me I think that screen shot shed a different light on things. Athletes are human beings with real feelings, too. Let’s (at least try to) respect them.

For Boston,
Ryan Bilodeau
http://www.ryanbilodeau.net

Celtics Lose to Warriors

I watched the Celtics game tonight with a good friend. And like any friendship, this game had its highs and lows. Unfortunately for Celtics fans, the Warriors made a few more plays than did the Celtics. Despite what Coach Brad Stevens said, this loss was a win in the moral sense. Momentum and confidence will flow from this tight loss for the rest of the season.

For Boston,
Ryan Bilodeau
http://www.ryanbilodeau.net

Flip Saunders – RIP

flip-saunders

Another famous sports coach not named John Farrell has been fighting for his life. Flip Saunders, the GM and Coach of the Timberwolves, has succumbed to Hodgkin’s lymphoma. We sports fans often view athletes and coaches as commodities to criticize on TV or trade to other teams. It was ironically through the trade of Kevin Love, which Saunders refused to make with the Celtics, that I learned a lot about the character of the man. Saunders held out despite huge public pressure, and later received a much better trade package. In his decision as a sports professional, I learned a lot about his character. Saunders was a man who did what he believed was right even in the face of public pressure.

For Boston,
Ryan Bilodeau
http://www.ryanbilodeau.net