COMMENTARY | There is a price to be paid when going against popular opinion.
This price consists of intense scrutiny, relentless criticism, and gross overreaction. When Derrick Rose refused to play in actual games after being medically cleared and reportedly excelling in practice during the 2012-13 NBA season, he opened himself up to such things.
Initially, the badgering of Rose was due to him not being on the court while other teammates dealing with injuries, such as Joakim Noah, gutted it out for the Chicago Bulls. Also, there was the fact that New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert suffered the same injury, on the exact same day, but had since resumed playing.
Now that Rose has finally returned, his presence, or lack thereof, will no longer be an issue. Instead, the focus of naysayers and nitpickers will shift to his performance. If he had come back last season a shell of himself, there would have been pats on the back for trying. He would have been given an "A" for effort. However, after choosing to sit out the entire year, Rose will be judged by a much higher standard.
Take the reaction when Rose recently sat out a preseason game due to soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. There was an overtone of panic that this was not simply a precautionary move, but instead may signal something more serious.
Rose will be under pressure to show that the extra time he spent on the sidelines was worth it. If not, then what purpose did it serve? This question will inevitably resurface. Rose's knee has to look good. His game has to look good. The Bulls have to look good. Or critics will offer "matter-of-fact" assessments as to why he should have come back last season, played himself into a rhythm and reestablished chemistry with his teammates.
When LeBron James made his own unpopular decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, many cheered the Dallas Mavericks for winning the championship that year simply because they wanted to see James lose. Similarly, although there was no burning of jerseys, Rose went from one of the most celebrated players in the league to one of the most heavily condemned last season.
A great deal of respect was lost for Rose. There will be many waiting for him to fail, and celebrating when he does. Those that called him selfish and soft while bemoaning his seemingly lethargic approach are awaiting vindication.
But the good thing about public opinion is that it is fleeting. Do something the majority agrees with and they love you. Do something they disagree with and they hate you. Take a page out of James' book -- dominate, win, and none of it matters.
If Rose can do this, the negative light in which he found himself will dissipate. For there will be nothing more that can be said against him.Acamea Deadwiler is a Chicago-area native with several years experience covering the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, for Examiner.com. She has also been featured in Bounce magazine, SLAM Online, and various other publications. Follow Acamea on Twitter @AcameaLD. More from this Contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Derrick Rose
- Chicago Bulls
- Joakim Noah