Lay off Derrick Rose

As unaccustomed as I am to come to the defense of highly paid pro athletes, I have to gag on the goofy denunciations and condemnations of Chicago Bulls star guard Derrick Rose.

The frequently injured  Rose (did he plan to hurt himself?) had the gall to tell reporters that he was thinking about his future. As he said:

"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. [I'm] just learning and being smart."

Sports writers (here, here and here, for example) and some fans are anguished, insulted and offended--yes, offended!--that Rose would say such a thing.  Even former NBA great Charles Barkley threw in some rips, calling Rose stupid. All those aches and pains are worth it, according to Barley, because at night he can go home to clean sheets in a big mansion, etc.

First of all, reporters asked. Is he supposed to lie about what's on his mind? We should leave that to the politicians and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. He's being called stupid for being honest; maybe he should just ignore reporters who don't like his answers.

Second, Rose, as much as anyone knows that he is susceptible to injury. He's got a right to be concerned about his future.

Third, this is the beginning of the season, not the end, when his health is more important for the team.

Fourth, "playing through hurt" is macho, sure enough. And it's a good way to make an injury worse, to the detriment of yourself and your team. The legendary Chicago Bears linebacker Dick Butkus, you may recall,  filed a lawsuit against the Bears in 1975, claiming the Bears knowingly kept him on the field when he should have had surgery on his knees. And another Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers cut his spectacular career short with injuries.

Fifth, Rose, when he's heathy is one of the best. It's not as if he were the Chicago Bears' highly paid quarterback Jay Cutter, who also is injury prone, but when he's healthy, he's....mediocre.

Sixth, maybe it doesn't matter. The Bulls are contenders no matter whether he's playing. The bench depth is fantastic.

So, why don't we sit back and enjoy it. After all, for us, it's only a game. For Rose, it's his life.

For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit:

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