by Ryan Isley
Two of the biggest stories in the world of sports on Thursday were not about games or highlights. They weren’t about trades or huge contracts. And they weren’t about athletes being selfish. In fact, two of the biggest stories in sports on Thursday were about athletes being what they are – people and family men.
Of course I am referring to Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat and pro golfer Bubba Watson.
First, it was Bosh who had to leave New York where his team was getting ready for game three of their NBA playoff series against the Knicks and fly home to be with his wife while she was giving birth. He made it back in time to play for the Heat in their 87-70 win Thursday night.
Later in the day, pro golfer and 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson sent out the following tweet:
That’s two athletes in a 24-hour period dealing with real world decisions – and while they are different to an extent, they are really the same. And both of them had to deal with unfair criticism based on their decisions.
With Bosh, there were people saying that he should have stayed in New York and that his wife should understand if he wasn’t able to make it home for the birth of their first child. After all, he is a professional athlete who is in the middle of a playoff series.
People who said this simply don’t see Bosh for what he really is – a person, a husband and now a father. The Heat didn’t really need Bosh for Thursday’s game to begin with but even if they did, how could you blame a guy for wanting to be with his wife as their first child is coming into the world? In my mind, Bosh made the right decision, and even if he wouldn’t have made it back to play Thursday night it would have still been the right decision.
As for Watson, people were upset because he would be skipping out on the tournament that many consider the fifth major – no doubt fans who were being selfish and wanting to see Watson and his pink driver try to work more magic like he did on Easter Sunday when he won the Masters.
This one is even more absurd to me. While Bosh is under contract to a team and therefore bound by the guidelines in that contract, pro golfers such as Watson are essentially independent contractors. They are not required to play in any events and therefore are able to pick and choose which ones in which they want to participate.
In Watson’s case, he just became a father before the Masters when he and his wife were able to adopt their son. He wants to take some time off and spend it with his wife and their new addition as a family – who wouldn’t? At the end of the day, Watson is in the same position in terms of their life as Bosh – a husband and now a father.
Also, with as much as people want to complain about athletes making too much money and only caring about the money, isn’t it refreshing to see guys like Bosh and Watson put their families first? Watson is giving up the chance to make over $1.7 million (the winner’s share at the Player’s Championship) and Bosh would have probably been willing to not be paid had he missed game three. These guys get it and made sacrifices to be there for their wives and now sons.
When all is said and done in their career as professional athletes, these guys will still have their families with whom to spend time. Their choices this week to put that family first before playing in a basketball game (playoff or not) or a golf tournament is a decision that should be commended, not jeered.
If only more athletes cared that much about their families.
And yes Tiger – I am talking to you.
Feel the criticism Bosh and Watson received was fair? Or do you agree with Ryan? Leave a comment or email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org