MORRISSEY: Oscillating fans need to quiet down about Derrick Rose
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org April 3, 2013 10:17PM
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Updated: April 4, 2013 12:11PM
As the public anger directed at Derrick Rose builds, I can’t help but wonder where it’s going and where it will end up.
Wiggle room would seem to be in short supply. After everything fans and media have said about him, what will they do when he and his surgically repaired knee finally return to the court for the Bulls? Boo him? Ignore him? Never trust him again?
Instead of chants of “M-V-P,
M-V-P’’ when he shoots free throws, will people chant “Cow-ard, Cow-ard?”
In sports, there are few worse insults than being called a quitter. Rose has been called it enough the past few weeks that it could be his middle name now.
After all the things that have been said, there has to be a point of no return, doesn’t there? For the people who have emailed and tweeted that he’s selfish and wimpy, turning back can’t be an option. You can’t call him those things and later say you didn’t mean them or that all’s forgiven. It’s up to Rose to do the forgiving, and if I were him, I’m not sure I’d do it.
The amount of ugliness over his perceived delicateness has been stunningly disproportionate to the accomplishments of his first four seasons. It’s as if the three All-Star
Game selections never happened. I don’t think I’ve ever been more perplexed over public reaction. This guy, the guy who plays so hard and fearlessly — this is the guy you’re ripping for being soft?
Several weeks back, when I suggested there was no point in Rose returning this season, a radio guy called my comments “criminal’’ and something along the lines of a “travesty.’’ Interesting. I’d reserve “criminal’’ and “travesty’’ for the gun problem and the loss of innocent lives in the city, but that’s just me.
If fans and media are this upset about Rose, where is their outrage over, say, athletes beating their wives and girlfriends? Where is the anger over Rutgers coach Mike Rice, who was fired Wednesday for abusing his players?
And the chorus responds: What does that have to do with the Bulls and the NBA playoffs?
The victory that ended the Heat’s 27-game winning streak sent the Rose criticism to another level, and it skewed reason to such an extent it was almost unrecognizable. If the Bulls had Rose in the lineup, just think of the heights they’d reach! No. With or without their point guard, they can’t challenge Miami in a best-of-seven series.
Let Rose move at his own pace, hope management adds more pieces and watch the Bulls take their best shot next season. This battered team isn’t going anywhere in 2013.
In the meantime, people need to stop impersonating a doctor. Have you noticed? Everybody is certain that Rose’s knee is 100 percent and that if the team’s medical staff has cleared him to play, he’s ready.
Everybody’s a psychologist, too. Everybody knows Rose better than he knows himself. And everybody’s Woodward and Bernstein. Everybody has sources saying that Rose is dominating Bulls practices.
It’s amazing how far and how fast he has fallen in terms of public perception, and for what? For not healing as quickly as people want him to heal. For not being around to save a season that can’t be saved.
There have been intimations on radio talk shows that teammates are upset with Rose. If so, why haven’t we heard players venting, even anonymously?
After reinjuring his knee against the Wizards on Tuesday night, Bulls forward Taj Gibson said it was the kind of thing that can happen when you rush back to help your team. I don’t know if he was subtly referring to Rose’s situation, but it certainly fit.
One of the more humorous theories drifting around on Twitter is that those of us in the media who defend Rose are doing so because we’re worried about losing access. What access? To a player and a coach who rarely have anything profound to say? Have you seen a flood of information coming from the Rose camp the past five years? I sure haven’t.
Adidas did this kid a major disservice. The presumption in its ad campaign was that Rose’s “Return’’ would come this season and that it would be dramatic. Well, there certainly has been drama.
Adding to the awkwardness, the Bulls have been using radio ads featuring Rose. Ending those might get people to put down the pitchforks. Then again, probably not.