Public Stupidity Meets a Starbury Target
Skimming an article on USA Today this morning, I saw the kind of invective that just makes this blogger hate the nature of internet comments. There is an article, about Stephon Marbury’s stasis, and the commenters come out with the:
"This guy is so dumb its frightening."
"Would someone PLEASE give me $21 million so I can be DUMB…
PLEASE give me a $10 million "paid" vacation so I can be DUMB…"
"If Mebury or Isiah actually "show up" for work they would not get paid. They are being paid by the Knicks to "stay away" from the rest of the team.
The rest of the business world would just Fire Them both and not pay them another penny."
I can’t stand it when people call athletes "dumb" – assessing their intelligence based, usually, on one or a limited number of quotes, usually about the nexus of money and respect. We don’t know whether the player is dumb or not without interacting with him personally for a period of time. The framework of professional sports, from the employee protections to the contractual obligations to the sheer uniqueness of talent also allows for a certain myopia of thought that most people would not be allowed in their jobs.
Similarly, I would like to think that everyone has noticed that quirks are allowed more and more as one moves up the importance ladder in any organization.
These comments are jealousy speaking out – the "OHH, IF I HAD MILLIONS" whining, the use of logic that is based on being an athletic observer and not an athletic talent, and the use of experience gained following a mythos of how the business world works.
Stephon Marbury, with all of his faults included, is a one in 500 talent in the world. Even at his quirkiest, he is so much more talented than a schmoe off the street that the proper corollary would be a Vice President at a very large Fortune 500 company. That guy hardly gets fired when he is being petulant, when the new CEO wants a new staff. No, that guy gets a giant golden umbrella, or gets assigned to a less critical part of the organization, or goes on to another organization based on his rep.
"Fire them both?" AIG is spending money on “retention payments” bonuses after they came hat in hand to the government for WELFARE. Other companies are still giving out bonuses, even if in reduced fashion. Failure doesn’t mean "fired with no money," it means reductions, severance packages; the market is a win/ lose game to investors, not to the employees who need to be kept around.
The point is this: people think they know their athletes, based on puff pieces and ESPN investigative reporting compressed into 5 minute segments or 30 second post-game interviews. And fans sometimes think they can go around name calling from behind their keyboards at work? You don’t know these people. Enjoy their abilities, talk about their in-game decision making, even call them out when they ask for above-market value on their contract. But don’t call them dumb. And it’s worthless to fantasize what you would do with the contract, because you are not nearly capable or single-minded enough to become a top-level athlete.
There is another comment by the first poster about how we’re lucky that Marbury plays ball, because "he would have hurt someone by now"… the ignorance in that comment is evident enough that it does not warrant a post.