Last night, in the opening game of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat (well-named as it turned out) and the San Antonio Spurs played in Texas, the air conditioning went out and the game was played in temperatures that ranged around 90-degrees. One of the results of this is that the Miami star LeBron James, who has had problems with cramping, did indeed cramp up and hand to leave the close game with about four minutes left, hobbling off the court, barely able to walk.
Given that James has become a bit of a lightning rod for commentary (though less so in recent years), the social media world went to work. Though he had his many defenders (unquestionably justified, in my opinion -- the man who clearly hurt and barely able to move) -- there were the legions of snarky critics. But one stood out as the worst.
Now, this might seem fairly benign. But you have to understand who it's from. "JM" is Jonathan Martin.
Okay, who is Jonathan Martin, I hear many of you ask?
Jonathan Martin is a former lineman on the Miami Dolphins, same city as LeBron James's Heat. He was the player who quit his team last year after he made charges of intense, unrelenting bullying. He subsequently was traded to the San Francisco 49ers.
This is not to say whether he was right to quit his team or wrong. The matter of bullying was a controversial one and still being looked into. (From what little I know of the story that's been reported, I've been on Jonathan Martin's side of this.) But for a player who so famously quit his team, whatever the reason, justified or not, to make a public snipe at another player -- especially from the same town -- for not being tough enough and not playing...when clearly injured, carried off the court seated in a chair...is almost the height of hubris.
And the only reason it's only "almost" the height of hubris is because what I've left out of the story is this: during the whole controversy, when Jonathan Martin was taking a pile of criticism from one side, LeBron James publicly spoke out in support of his fellow Miami athlete! And this is who Jonathan Martin decided to ridicule.
It worth noting that Martin took down his Tweet later. But honestly, guy -- what were you thinking??
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor