The NBA is consistently lauded as a progressive and forward league. At least compared to the NHL, NFL, and MLB. That’s a semi-fair statement considering the progressive moves made by the NBA to include women in the league. Whether that be the Spurs hiring, and promoting, Becky Hammon to one of the main assistants to Gregg Popovich’s staff, or adding more women to the broadcast booth in places like Washington and Brooklyn. With every step the NBA takes to better its game and to show that it is the more progressive league, guys like Derrick Rose -who was accused of gang rape in a 2016 trial later found not liable- and Lance Stephenson, who was arrested in 2010 for domestic violence after pushing his girlfriend down flights of stairs in an apartment building, are lauded for their “bounce back” season after being much of an afterthought, or their on court antics and tomfoolery despite his off-court history.
For Derrick Rose it has been a season of “redemption” at least in the eyes of the NBAs players, media and some of its custodians. Rose who is playing some of his best basketball for a young Timberwovles team, is putting up around 20 points per game and is shooting a career high 43% from three point range. All in all Derrick Roses’s on court play has been a miracle, and how Derrick Rose conducts himself on the court in the 2018-19 season far contrasts his off-court image. Off the court Derrick Rose has been a frustrating and confusing player to understand, in 2017 Derrick Rose missed a Knicks game vs the Pelicans without notice to the team or officials, later reported as a family issue for Rose who returned to the team Tuesday. Earlier this month Derrick Rose faced criticism for a post game quote after the Wolves fired Tom Thibodeau, saying
“I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Rose said Monday. “Thibs was just the coach that believed in me. I mean, he jump-started my career again and for that, I’ll always be thankful. But everybody that thinks that it’s gonna stop, kill yourself. It’s just not.”
Rose later apologized via Twitter about his comments, but it shows how hard it can be to be on his side, or to be on the train of redemption with him. His troubles with the law, and his history of being in the news for the wrong reasons,is a determent to the NBA and its goals to keep moving forward. We need to stop saying that Derrick Rose has had a bad hand of cards with injuries, and start to tell the honest truth that Derrick Rose was accused of something horrible and reprehensible.
Lance Stephenson is another troubling case in the NBA, where he is recognized more for his antics and ridiculous on court activity, rather than his troubling off court history. Lance Stephenson attacked his then 2010 girlfriend down flights of stairs and was released by the judge after the prosecutors asked for a seven thousand dollar bail price, and almost 10 years later Stephenson is still be employed by NBA teams while also playing semi regular minutes for a high profile team in the Lakers. The same Lakers that are trying to pry superstar Anthony Davis to play alongside Lebron James to form the next superteam.
The NBA has come a long way to show its forwardness and progressiveness towards being the best league it can be, but with every step forward they take two steps back after they laud and applause a player for a highlight he did and not for his actions and lack of responsibility towards the things that he does, while also showing support and trying to weave a story of “redemption” for a player that makes it harder and harder to root for him due to his actions off the hardwood. The NBA is my favorite league to watch, but they are stuck in mud with its backwards actions in a progressive front and they need to take action and own up to their mistakes.