With 99.9% of our problem children now gone I'd like to ask a semi-problematic question that's been on my mind for a while now.
Where, how, and how much do off-court issues affect your ability to root for your favorite athletes/performers/entertainers? (In some way NBA players are all three.)
Obviously this has been a front-burner issue for Blazer fans for many years but what brought it home for me again was last week's Chris Benoit story. For those who don't know, Benoit was an enormously popular, enormously talented wrestler with the WWE...a huge fan favorite. Last week he was found dead along with his wife and child in an apparent murder-suicide. (I don't want to go into more detail than that or have it brought up here more than that. Thank you for respecting that.) Of course immediately after he was found and before the details became widely known there was an enormous outpouring of support, grief, and fantastic memories of him as a performer. But then after the horrible truth was revealed and you found out that something very, very bad had gone on, you kind of had mixed feelings. Was it really proper to even talk about, let alone remember fondly, his professional performances in the wake of such a tragedy and such an act? Was that disrespecting the victims? I still go 'round and 'round about resolving that in my own head/heart and frankly thinking about it makes me kind of ill.
Again...this can be pulled right back to the Blazers who brought up this same kind of dilemma, though obviously on a much, much smaller scale, for much of this decade.
Where is the line here? Is there a point where it's just inappropriate and crass to root for and applaud someone professionally when you know something about them personally that's just not OK? How much does it, or should it, matter? How do you reconcile those things if you still want to root for your team (and is it even fair to do so)?
I didn't dare bring this up when it was an ongoing issue lest there be a nuclear holocaust in the comment section, but now that we've been through it and appear relatively safe, perhaps we can draw some wisdom from the past that will help us in the future...or at least make interesting conversation.