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This is a broad question, but I'm curious what say you:

How much do you take into account the 'person' when thinking about an athlete, their accomplishments and their lasting legacy? Do you separate the two, or are they always intrinsically interconnected?

(This can include both "good" and "bad"; positive philanthropy, scandal, charisma & personality, win-at-all-costs-relationships-be-damned, etc.)

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It's a huge component for me.  

Peyton Manning, Ken Griffey Jr., and Tim Duncan are examples of players I elevate not only because of their accomplishments on the field/court, but also who they were off it.

Meanwhile, guys like Lawrence Taylor, Pete Rose, and ARod are examples of players I can't mentally force myself to acknowledge how good they may have been on the field because of who they have been off it.

Some athletes, such as Tiger, MJ, and Michael Phelps were too great to dismiss their legacy even though they acquired some level of tarnish away from their sport.

 

Edited by 5fouls
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52 minutes ago, MoyeCowbell said:

This is a broad question, but I'm curious what say you:

How much do you take into account the 'person' when thinking about an athlete, their accomplishments and their lasting legacy? Do you separate the two, or are they always intrinsically interconnected?

(This can include both "good" and "bad"; positive philanthropy, scandal, charisma & personality, win-at-all-costs-relationships-be-damned, etc.)

I can’t answer this question with a simple answer. There are so many layers to why some act one way or another. I had a work friend that came from a completely different culture. I was a college age white privileged. He was black and had just done 9 years in the state pen for armed robbery. Yet somehow we formed a bond. Learned some lessons about growing up in different cultures. Besides what do I really know about these student athletes? Who was the signed recruit that never made it to campus because he was arrested selling drugs. Outwardly he seemed like a good kid?

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I find it impossible to feel any respect for Kobe Bryant and Mike Tyson.

I find it difficult to respect draft dodger Muhammad Ali.

Pete Rose, Brett Favre, all the baseball players who thrived due to steroids should be canceled from any HOF recognition.

 I cannot abide Aaron Rodgers simply because he’s a douche bag.

 I am torn over the greatness of Wilt Chamberlain as I don’t know whether to be in awe of him or find him morally irresponsible for sleeping with 10,000 women 😛

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2 hours ago, MoyeCowbell said:

This is a broad question, but I'm curious what say you:

How much do you take into account the 'person' when thinking about an athlete, their accomplishments and their lasting legacy? Do you separate the two, or are they always intrinsically interconnected?

(This can include both "good" and "bad"; positive philanthropy, scandal, charisma & personality, win-at-all-costs-relationships-be-damned, etc.)

This is a great question and I struggle with it for athletes, musicians, authors, etc. It’s very difficult for me to separate the art from the artist. There are a lot of athletes I don’t/can’t respect, b/c I don’t like the person. And there are some athletes I learn to like more b/c of the person and their actions.

I’m not sure Im right in this respect, but I know it’s how I feel. 

Not athletics, but one of my absolute favorite biographers Blake Bailey turned out to be a serial predator of his female students. I remember being really pissed when this news came out after buying his newest book.

I envy people who can separate the athlete/artist from the work. It must be so mush easier (and healthier) that way. 

55 minutes ago, Steubenhoosier said:

I find it impossible to feel any respect for Kobe Bryant and Mike Tyson.

I find it difficult to respect draft dodger Muhammad Ali.

Pete Rose, Brett Favre, all the baseball players who thrived due to steroids should be canceled from any HOF recognition.

 I cannot abide Aaron Rodgers simply because he’s a douche bag.

 I am torn over the greatness of Wilt Chamberlain as I don’t know whether to be in awe of him or find him morally irresponsible for sleeping with 10,000 women 😛

It’s funny, I respect Muhammad Ali more b/c of his stance on Vietnam. His quote about not going has always resonated with me. 

Quote

“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

But Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers? Both of them are absolute trash in my eyes. Just worthless human beings. 

Wilt? Dude is a legend in more ways than one. I give that guy a pass as one of the greatest. 

Michael Vick (not in your list, I know) and his dog fighting? F*ck that dude. 

 

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For me, it's hard to separate the wo/man from the athlete, but I do understand there is a grey area in most people's lives, and their good/bad is a lot more murky than what is easily definable. Someone's actions/demeanor might be lead them to be labeled an 'asshole' by one and a 'driven perfectionist' by another. In some ways, this is more of a reflection on the one perceiving the athlete than the athlete themselves.

And many times, there are two opposing virtues within one person that manage to offset each other (Lance Armstrong being a huge example of this.)

I try to put my own personal politics aside and think about the person and how they simply comport themselves. Are they a generally good person who has strived for greatness beyond their athletic accomplishments? Griffey Jr., Bo Jackson, David Robinson are a few that come to mind. 

And secondly, because to err is to be human, if someone has made a mistake or done something morally or ethically bad, did they try and learn from their mistakes? I actually think Vick and Kobe are good examples of this. Dog-fighting is awful and disgusting. So is the stuff Kobe is accused of (albeit his situation wasn't as cut and dry). But both men changed their ways and made conscious attempts to be better humans and help the following generations. Hell, Shaq has admitted his own infidelity and how he has regrets of his actions, yet I consider him a good person who is trying to make the world a better place.

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A lot of my thoughts depend on what an athlete/celebrity did...Some things are inexcusable... 

But I will say this...

When Roger Staubach was playing, I disliked him...

Watched his episode of "A Football Life" and I wish more people were like him... Myself included... 

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These guys make a lot of money for essentially playing a child's game for a living. I expect them to show some appreciation for their gifts by having a little humility and generosity.  They are human so I don't expect them to be choir boys. 

For me their off the field public persona does affect their legacy.

Regardless of beliefs I'd wish they all would keep their political opinions to themselves. 

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What's weird is that in some cases, questiobable off the field behavior can add to the person's legacy.  This generally happens with athletes before our time.

Babe Ruth.  His off the field stuff would shock and dismay many of us if he was alive and active today. 

But, since it happened 100 years ago, his rowdiness is an afterthought to us when compared to his impact on the field.

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