LeBron James stumbled through the end of Game 1 of the NBA Finals with debilitating cramps, setting off waves of ridiculous LEBRON IS NOT ELITE criticism throughout the sports world. One of those giving James grief for lack of toughness? None other than 49ers offensive lineman Jonathan Martin:
Martin, you may recall, was at the epicenter of the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal. He blew the whistle on Richie Incognito and others, a move that could have ended his career but resulted in sweeping changes to the entire NFL locker room culture. So, yeah, maybe a dopey tweet about toughening up wasn't the wisest play to run, even if it was (possibly) a joke.
Naturally, instant reaction broke fast and hard against Martin, the general gist being how dare a guy who COULDN'T HANDLE BEIN' A REAL MAN IN THE REAL MEN'S NFL tell someone else to get back in the game?
“@J_Martin71: And Lebron still gonna be finals MVP” And you'll forever still be hated by Dolfans— D4VID (@TheOfficialD4VE) June 6, 2014
You get the idea. There's some real poets out there on Twitter. Plenty of other other would-be tough guys also weighed in on LeBron, none of whom, best we could tell, have led teams to five NBA Finals:
Ladies and gentleman, the 'greatest' ever: smh: AC breaks & you quit on your teammates pic.twitter.com/6rIoQHRtvc— jason (@Jason) June 6, 2014
The second hand embarrassment I have right now because of Lebron james and his leg cramp is at an all time high #soft— Shayne Gostisbehere (@s_ghost14) June 6, 2014
I don't want to hear any excuses about LeBron cramping. Both teams played in same heat. Nobody kept LeBron from drinking more water.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) June 6, 2014
It's worth noting that other athletes had LeBron's back:
ANY person seriously saying Lebron should have played through full leg cramps bc Jordan played with flu has NEVER been an athlete EVER....— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) June 6, 2014
Cramps are real. We had a guy with full body cramps ask to "call the police." Not the ambulance. The police.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) June 6, 2014
I played w/a broken toe b4, but couldn't even stand up w/cramps. Lebron's at a disadvantage in heat because of his level of lean muscle mass— Marcellus Wiley (@marcelluswiley) June 6, 2014
The entire rabid shoot-anything-that-moves culture of Twitter is too vast a subject to handle right here, but it's relevant. Martin learned the hard truth of social media: if you've taken an unpopular stand on any issue, you're really never going to be able to speak freely in public again. In any event, Martin, who probably knows more about the physical reality of cramps than any 20 of his critics, quickly deleted the tweet.
Tip to all concerned, though: nobody cares how tough you talk on the Internet. Nobody.