Writer’s Block: It shouldn’t be so easy to judge athletes from the couch

Sports Reporter
Sam is the sports reporter for ABC Newspapers, covering high school, junior college and community sports in the area. He joined the staff in October 2016.

The Golden State Warriors won the NBA Finals on Monday, defeating Cleveland 4-1 in the series. Once a likable organization who built a great team on its own with the likes of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson along with key role players, the Warriors have suddenly turned into villains in the eyes of many fans.

Sam Herder
Sam Herder

A quick backstory if you aren’t familiar:

Golden State had the best regular season record in NBA history last season at 73-9. They were a superteam team who dominated in the playoffs and built a 3-1 lead on Cleveland in last year’s NBA Finals. Led by LeBron James, the Cavaliers came back to win the championship in Game 7.

James is considered the best basketball player in the world. The second best basketball player, arguably, is Kevin Durant. Durant lost to Golden State in the semifinals.

So Durant decided to join the Warriors this season. An unquestioned top five player in the world decided to join the best regular season team in history.

And people hated it.

They formed a super-superteam. And of course, the Warriors dominated this year again all the way to Monday’s championship. Durant got his first ring that he’s been searching for as such an elite talent.

And people hated it.

Many thought it was a cheap move. It was an easy move for Durant to join a team that was basically guaranteed to win a title if he chose to join them.

But that’s the thing in America: we judge athletes and celebrities and their decisions as if they aren’t human beings.

If you had an opportunity in your career for better success and less pressure on you to perform, wouldn’t you take it?

I didn’t like the move Durant made at all. I thought the NBA would be much more interesting if he stayed and tried to win a title in Oklahoma City.

But I don’t think you can rip on a guy who makes such an important decision for his career and life. Especially when us Average Joes never faced such a situation.

Another example is adult fans ripping on college student athletes and their life-changing decisions. Recruits constantly get pestered on Twitter for not committing to their hometown or home-state teams. Same for those that decide to leave early for the pros.

But one case this last college football season brought out the worst in some people.

Louisiana State University’s Leonard Fournette and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey were two of the best running backs in the country. When it came time for their teams to play in their respective postseason bowl games, they decided not to play.

Both planned on entering the NFL Draft. The bowl games were quite meaningless, so they decided the risk was more than the reward.

And people hated it.

As fans of the game, sure it was disappointing not to watch two elite players play. But these young guys have million dollar contracts waiting for them. Would you play?

As a running back, your career can change in one play. Just look at someone like Marcus Lattimore, who seemed like a lock for an NFL career until his knee was torn to shreds when he got tackled from the side.

I get the point of it being selfish for a teammate to essentially quit on his team and the school who paid for his classes. But when it comes to making a decision that could impact your future career and life, everyone deserves to be selfish.

Athletes included.

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