Instead of trying to find ways to right the ship for a Hawks team that has hit another rough patch, he’s been forced to defend everything from his friendships with teammates to his marriage.
As a result of this situation, people are questioning whether it’s any of the media’s or the public’s business to get involved with players personal lives.
But I don’t think that’s the proper question we should be asking.
Since we do live in the good ole’ US of A, Sharp should be presumed innocent. And at the outset, there’s no reason to assume otherwise. Sharp has never been a prior offender of any kind, but all of the sudden he’s being accused of having a fist fight with Patrick Kane and even sleeping with Duncan Keith’s wife.
But while the source that came forward with those rumors has corroborating "evidence" from four different "sources," those sources remained anonymous. You can't nail anything down with anonymous sources. So for the time being, the jury's still out in my opinion. (I find it ironic that the source noted due diligence and fact checking repeatedly in their report... at least they're convinced that they've done extensive background work.)
For as great as social media is, this is one of the problems it has created: a worldwide audience is at the fingertips of anyone with a keyboard or cell phone.
But asking whether it’s any of our business to know about a player’s personal troubles is misguided in my opinion. There should be a lot of criticism being thrown towards the media in this scenario, but not for infringing on a player’s personal life. It’s because anonymous here-say has been reported as fact. Sure, it makes for great headlines; it can also slowly destroy people, teams and families.
If these rumors are false, I really hope the people who decided to come out with these allegations can look themselves in the mirror when they wake up in the morning.
But hypothetically: if Sharp, or any athlete for that matter, had overt personal issues that carried over to their play, it is absolutely a matter of public concern. I don’t see how anyone can argue otherwise.
People always say “you never want to meet your heroes.” Why? It will ruin your perception of them when you see their human side.
But why should we go to such lengths to protect the Ivory Towers we already place these superstar athletes in? These guys know what they’re getting into when they sign multi-million dollar contracts.
They’re public figures who, like it or not, should live up to higher moral standards. At any given time of the day, they’re not only representing themselves, but a franchise and a professional sports league. They’re also considered to be idols by millions of people across the nation, especially impressionable children who know no better and assume their favorite athletes can do no wrong.
Well, sorry kids, these guys are people too. Yes, everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance. But we also deserve to know of those mistakes. And it’s the media’s job to act as a bridge between the players and the public. They’re the ones with the access and the ability to see “the other side” a lot more frequently.
Let’s take Sharp’s name away and substitute Player X. Let’s say Player X was cheating on his wife, did get into a fist fight with a teammate, and was clearly struggling because of all of those issues.
Wouldn’t you want to know that? Wouldn’t that help you shape your perception about that player? Not everything in this life is rosy. If it were me, I’d want to know everything about a certain player, good and bad, before I go rooting for him and forking over money to wear his last name on my back. At the end of the day, your personal affinity for players also slightly reflects on your own morals, too.
And if all of those allegations against Player X were true, why not make him face the music? People would be okay if he was never held accountable?
The narrative I’m hearing a lot recently is, “they’re big boys, let them figure it out themselves.” But I hardly hear that logic apply to other people in the public spotlight, like politicians or movie stars. What makes athletes exempt?
I understand there’s a grey line here: how can you know for sure that a player’s personal decisions are impacting his performance. Cheating on your wife is a personal choice, just as deciding to take performance enhancing drugs, but the ramifications are entirely different. There’s almost no definitive way to tell if a personal choice is impacting a player, unless they come out and say it.
But most of the time, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And when there’s fire, it’s most definitely is our business.
However, the firefighters (a.k.a. the media) better be 100% sure that the fire is legit, and that we’re not just seeing some harmless smoke from a fire pit at a picnic.
We deserve to know what player’s are doing behind closed doors, the good and the bad, so we can better judge them as people and athletes. We just better make sure that those allegations are true before we go judging.