Content warning: This article discusses domestic violence.
The sports news cycle has been filled with bad news recently. There has been a lot of press coverage of the cases of Addison Russell, Reuben Foster and, most recently, Kareem Hunt. No doubt about it, there are some bad people in professional sports. There’s no place for domestic violence in anyone’s life. These stories are important and need to be discussed, and you can hear plenty about them on any sports site.
Today, I am choosing to focus on some stories that fit a bit more into the holiday spirit.
For example, Curtis Granderson just won the MLB’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year award for the third time. It took me four articles and two Google searches to find out why he won.
It should not be that hard to find out that Granderson won because of his organization, the Grand Kids Foundation, and its amazing events throughout the year that help with education and other causes. To be honest, it was great reading up on the 30 nominees for the prestigious award. All of these players, who do amazing things on the field, got a chance to show the awesome work that they do off the field. From donating to charities to starting their own, these players are doing extraordinary things. I did not know the Marvin Miller award existed before today.
I love hearing and seeing the work that these athletes do. I have seen a lot of great things about J.J. Watt, who won the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award this past year, and the amount of money he raised for the city of Houston after the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey. I see photos galore of Russell Wilson at hospitals with sick children. My only question is why I do not hear more about these things. When awards season rolls around, people start to talk about the athletes who are doing the most, but once the man or woman of the year awards are given out, the news cycle peters out as well.
Again, I do not wish to ignore the bad in professional sports, but rather hope to balance it with the good. There are huge issues that have been seen even recently, including the increasingly prevalent problem of inadequate responses to violence off the field. The media should focus on keeping a relationship with the great parts of sports off the field, just as I thought this column would be. Just like SportsCenter has its Top 10 Plays and Not Top 10 Plays, they should have episodes and segments dedicated to both discussing off-field violent behavior of athletes and the acts of charitable men and women like Curtis Granderson, who are using their pedestal to cause great change in their communities.
As my final column for now, I hope all of you, my readers, have a holiday season filled with joy, cheer and, in the spirit of some iconic athletes, helping others in need.