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Josh Hamilton: It’s His Business

February 3, 2012

Josh Hamilton is a baseball player for the Texas Rangers. He was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2010, receiving 22 of 28 votes after posting a league-leading .359 batting average with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs despite missing 24 games with a rib injury.

Josh Hamilton is also an addict.

Hamilton was suspended from the game for 30 days in 2004 while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. His suspension was increased during that time because of multiple violations. He took time trying to get his life in order by going to rehab and didn’t play baseball again until 2007.

This is all news and public knowledge and as much as I love baseball and respect baseball players for their skills and athleticism, it’s not a part of the game I personally care to read about. I would prefer that baseball reporting be limited to on-the-field, or clubhouse, activities, as well as management and personnel rumors, and that off-the-field actions, assuming a player hasn’t broken a law, be left to the player, the team and the league.

I understand that baseball players, and all athletes, are celebrities and no different than movie and television stars, musicians, authors and politicians, and I also understand that as a nation we’re obsessed with celebrity news and celebrity’s lives, but don’t accept that. I don’t believe that just because someone is born with a natural talent, just because they work and hone that talent over a lifetime, just because they use that talent to earn a living, that their lives are suddenly sacrificed to public scrutiny, or worse, that we’re all – fans and critics – free to judge them and their lives. What’s that saying about glass houses?

So here I am. I’m sitting here and I just read this article on Yahoo! Sports and it made me mad. “Report,” the headline blasts. “Rangers’ Hamilton has relapse with alcohol

So?

This is Josh Hamilton’s business. It’s his family’s business. It’s the team’s business. It’s his Higher Power’s business if you want to go that way. It is not our business. It is not our business to the extent of an 11 paragraph article on Yahoo!, or judgmental editorials by bloggers, people who wouldn’t know what end of a bat to hold should they ever get away from the computer long enough to pick one up, or whose closest encounter to a baseball is from a baseball card, discuss and dissect Hamilton’s relapses and recovery from the comfort of their own perfect lives.

This wouldn’t have been an issue if I hadn’t read that Yahoo! Sports article that went beyond reporting news and listed every one of Hamilton’s relapses and went on to talk about his recovery strategy and misstate that he was suspended from Major League Baseball for three years for alcohol abuse. Maybe I’m wrong, but the last time I checked, alcohol was not listed as one of the MLB’s drugs of abuse. Maybe alcohol should be on that list – I know player arrests for DUI offenses should be cause for suspension – but alcohol’s inclusion on the drugs of abuse list is off the topic of Josh Hamilton.

My message to the media, not that they listen, or care, is to leave Josh Hamilton alone.

Sometimes it’s fun to rant!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2012 8:11 pm

    Michael, it’s the media’s job to tell us how terribly-horribly-rotten everyone else is so that we can think we are so much betterly-superior to them because we aren’t an alcoholic-sex-drug-addict-fiend like they are, therefore we can judge the living heck out of them (as we shove our skeletons in the closet with our foot while no one is looking and hide the rocks that surround our glass house).

    I find it awfully sad when I hear about another person’s struggles. I don’t want to dwell on it and I certainly don’t want to “read all about it”. I have enough on my plate and I most definitely wouldn’t want someone plastering my life and tribulations all over the evening edition.

    The media has no standards and I have no esteem for them. There are very few with dignity because they believe “dirt” sells.

    Shame, shame.

    Like

  2. February 3, 2012 10:28 pm

    Yep.

    Like

  3. February 4, 2012 6:27 am

    You are right–I don’t care about athlete’s alcoholism, or drug addictions. If they play good baseball–I’ll come out and watch them–but all the behind the scenes stuff–it is their life…to do what they want with–I am not a judge or a jury.

    Cheers, Jenn

    Like

  4. February 4, 2012 7:53 am

    Let me begin with the fact that I am an alcoholic (recovered) and know that beast well. My father always said you can serve as a good example even by being a bad one. The media scrutiny on this man may be unfair, but as an alcoholic I may see it from a slightly different point of view. This man is in a life and death battle with his disease, there are only 3 paths out of alcoholism, sober up, get locked up in jail or other institution, or covered up with dirt dead in the ground, and that is a fact.

    Long ago I lost my interest in sports, each of these men makes a decision to accept huge financial reward for playing a game. Most have been protected from poor choices since they were boys, those about them have feasted off their efforts during the good times and stand to lose something when they fail.

    For the alcoholic to recover and save their life they must endure everything alcohol throws at them. Alcohol takes from them everything they know and love, we must be beaten into submission to become willing to trust a power greater than ourselves. The good news for this young man is that if he does recovery all will be restored to him, the bad news is many alcoholics go on to the bitter end, another headline we have all become familiar with.

    Like

    • Michael Fishman permalink
      February 5, 2012 7:39 am

      Thanks for your comment, Tim. I appreciate your perspective. I never stopped to think that his bad example in the public eye might actually help who knows how many other people who read about it. I guess my thought is that while he has to battle everything alcohol throws at him, he shouldn’t have to battle what the media throws at him as well. So just because he’s a celebrity doesn’t mean that I should have inside peeks into his life or that his life should be dissected by people not close to him.

      Like

    • February 6, 2012 4:13 pm

      Tim, my step-father was an alcoholic, so I know quite a bit about the dis-ease as well. Just as I know quite a bit about drug addictions because my mother was addicted to prescription medications AND one of my sisters was on cocaine AND heroine.

      I will say this, you ARE right, an alcoholic/drug addict could very well end up dead, as was the case with my step-father—he died on the steps of the local bar at the age of 39. However, NO amount of press/media would’ve changed that because HE didn’t WANT help.

      He didn’t even see that he had a problem. So again, no amount of press on athletes and celebrities who have addictions would’ve helped him. He was in the worst part of his addiction–the state of denial.

      Fortunately for my sister, she’s been clean. I can only hope she remains that way. Life is a wonderful adventure and I hope she, and others like her and you, live it to the fullest!

      Like

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