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Tigers

Sports Stars Aren’t All Good Guys

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DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 13: Delmon Young #21 of the Detroit Tigers smiles with Don Kelly #32 in the sixth inning of Game Five of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on October 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 13: Delmon Young #21 of the Detroit Tigers smiles with Don Kelly #32 in the sixth inning of Game Five of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on October 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Jamie-5837web Jamie Samuelsen
Jamie Samuelsen is the co-host of the “Jamie and Wojo Show” that airs...
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By: Jamie Samuelsen

Is Delmon Young a criminal?

At this point, we don’t know.

Is Delmon Young an anti-semite?

At this point, we don’t know.

Is Delmon Young a good person?

To be fair, at this point – we don’t know. But it sure seems unlikely.

Everyone seems to have an opinion of Young and whether or not he should return to the Tigers when his suspension ends on Friday. I’ve heard some say that the whole thing is being blown out of proportion. I’ve heard others say that Young should never play for the Tigers again and should be released immediately. How can these fans be expected to cheer for someone who’s accused of what Delmon Young is accused to have done?

Fans will do what they want. For the record, I expect Young to return to the Tigers. And I expect him to hear plenty of boos when he takes the field both at home at Comerica Park and when the Tigers head out on the road. If you are a Jewish baseball fan, I can certainly understand if these accusations bother you a LOT more than the average fan.

But let’s be clear about one thing. Young is not the first ‘bad’ guy to play for the Tigers and he won’t be the last. Odds are, he’s not the only ‘bad’ guy on the roster right now. If the Young saga teaches us nothing else, it should at least be a stiff reminder that we don’t know these guys…at all. We think we do, but we don’t. Young has exposed his character in a sordid police report and news station b-roll. So we think we have a better understanding of who he is and what makes him tick. But we don’t.

This is not meant to paint all athletes with a broad, ugly brush. We’ve been lucky here in Detroit to have good, honest, classy men wear the uniforms of our teams and represent our city well. But we’ve had some bad ones too. And we cheer for them to win just the same. Sports are inherently illogical. We root for men that we’ve never met to beat a team from another city just because they wear our jersey. Jerry Seinfeld was right – we root for shirts. Sports don’t discriminate based on race or religions thank goodness. But it also doesn’t discriminate on morals or ethics. There are some very good men sports who play sports very well. And there are some very bad men who play sports very well. We think we know who they are. But we don’t. And we never will.

Trust me. This is not some plea to root for Delmon Young. Do what you want. Right now, he doesn’t deserve your adulation. But don’t tell me that he should be kicked off the team because he’s a ‘bad’ guy. If those were the standards for sports, we’d have a hard time filling out rosters. And if those were the standards for American business, we’d be in more trouble than we are.

Sports are meant to be fun, entertaining and emotional. It’s not meant to be a church choir meeting. Don’t make the mistake of confusing the two.

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