OK, so, Amare Stoudemire lost a battle with a glass case Monday night after a loss to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the New York Knicks’ playoff series. Was it unfortunate? Yes. Was it stupid, as the fans of New York and some short-sighted media types have shouted. NO!!!
Stoudemire had a small muscle in his left hand repaired Tuesday and likely is out for the rest of the series, if not the entire playoffs — should the Knicks somehow get pass the Heat. But the public ridiculing of the Knicks’ forward epitomizes the flaw in today’s sporting world: Overreaction, by fans and media alike.
Jeremy Lin shows up and performs brilliantly for a few weeks, and the vast perception is that he’s the next great point guard and “Linsanity” ensues. Cannot blame Lin for the overhype — or Tim Tebow, for that matter. It’s the sensationalism that creates so much discussion and the backlash that those players feel when observers get tired of hearing their names.
So, Stoudemire had surgery New York to repair his badly cut left hand injured on the way to the lockerrom following the 10-point defeat. It happens all the time, players letting out their frustrations on whatever is in their path.
Doesn’t mean he attempted to hurt the team. Doesn’t mean he’s silly. Doesn’t mean he should be vilified. It just means he made a mistake. It could be costly to the Knicks, yes. Should he have better control of his emotions, well, yes. But to make him out to be some loose cannon idiot who should be traded — as many so-called Knicks fans have screamed — is ludicrous. An ESPNY.com columnist that I respect, Ian O’Connor, wrote that Stoudemire cutting his hand was “unforgivable.”
Really, Ian? Seriously?
Stoudemire said via Twitter the night of the act: ”We all have done thing out of anger that we regret. That makes us human. Bad timing on my part. Sorry guys. This (too) shall pass.”
Teammate Tyson Chandler said, “‘It’s tough. Your emotions run high. Split-second decisions can obviously alter things,You can’t fault anybody because I’m obviously a person that has high emotions at times. So one quick decision, make a mistake and now you’ve got to deal with the repercussions.”
That’s it — deal with it, New York.
Who knows what was on Stoudemire’s mind. He could have been upset with his play. He could have been thinking about his brother that died mid-season and the pain and agony that caused him. Who knows? But know this: He regrets his action because he hurt himself and his unavailability to play hurts the team.
Isn’t that enough punishment for the guy?
Curtis Bunn is a best-selling novelist and national award-winning sports journalist who has worked at The Washington Times, NY Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.