Maybe We All Need To Realize That Pointing Out Something Is Not A Big Deal Makes It A Big Deal

And by we, I mean me.

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Saturday night, I’m chilling at home. Paroxi-wife’s had a few glasses of white wine and is headed to dreamland to envision a life where some maniac doesn’t live in her house occasionally screaming ‘WTF do you mean, they traded Okafor for Chandler?!” I’m browsing ye old series of tubes and I notice some blabber about Beasley’s tattoo. I had seen the tweet from him but hadn’t clicked the link. If I spent all my time looking at NBA player twitpics I’d go blind. The blabber mostly passes me by. Then I catch The Peninsula Is Mightier noting the comments on the infamous picture.

Now I’m presented with a quandary. Do I think that Beasley smoking weed is a big deal? No. Not at all. Not even an ounce, so to speak.  Couldn’t care less. Don’t care if he’s stoned off his gourd. I find nothing newsworthy about a 19 year old smoking pot. I find it less newsworthy that there’s a picture of a 19 year old with two bags that might be pot on his coffee table.

But it’s going to be a story. Because it involves an NBA player and drugs. And while it’s none of our business what Beasley does in his own home, getting busted for substance abuse could impact him being suspended, and that does affect NBA fans. Additionally, if I’m the one to write on it, at least it’s one more outlet that’s not focusing on DRUGS BAD without looking at a more complex view of it.

The point I was trying to make was that there was nothing newsworthy about what he did, it’s the fact that he was dumb enough to get caught.  I don’t feel like I did that well.

Additionally, I wanted to be kind of flippant with it, because in reality, we were talking about a pair of f*cking plastic bags. And yet, why did I post on it? Because I knew it would be newsworthy, whether I wanted it to be or not. I’m all for journalistic responsibility or blogger responsibility or some sense of not being a prying dick that mocks the misfortune of others. But the fact is that it was an indication that Beasley was regularly using marijuana, which besides being illegal, is something he can be suspended for by the league. And if he was suspended for missing a team meeting or knocking out Joel Anthony or accidentally setting fire to the arena, it would be news. So I posted on it, and tried to focus on the Twitter angle as much as possible. So that’s kind of how that came about.

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A brief aside to talk about the rehab thing.

Now, all of this was before the rehab news came out. And it makes the whole thing different. It just does. Someone that likes getting high isn’t ‘troubled’ in my opinion. And I definitely never said that in the context of the FH piece. Someone that likes to get high is simply something I’m not. Loaded. I am unable to afford such recreational activities, what with Paroxi-wife’s trips to Half Price Books every day and the fact that if I were to be arrested she would kill me, then follow me to hell, kick my spiritually transcendent scrotum into my non-corporeal  throat and then kill me again. And that’s just not worth it.

But someone in rehab has some problems, particularly since the word ‘depression’ pops up. That’s nothing to mess with, kiddos. I’ve seen depression waylay people that weren’t expecting it. It’s hard enough to cope with it when you know you suffer with the condition. It’s another for it to spring upon you, changing your life, your behavior and how you interact with those around you. I’ve dealt with it, my family’s dealt with it, and I’m not ashamed of it. But it took a long time to come to that conclusion. (NOTE: “long time” = “lot of whiskey”)

So was the story relevant then, in retrospect?

No.

Here’s why I feel kind of ashamed at this point. Before the rehab story, I was cool with mocking Beasley. It’s funny. “Millionaire 19 year old athlete likes to get stoned and has stupid tattoos.” Ha ha ha. Then it turns out he’s in rehab, and I no longer think those jokes are funny. But weren’t the pot jokes just as insensitive to who Beasley is and what he’s going through? Was I less of a d*ckbag just because I knew less about him when I was making jokes?

(It should be noted that I have issues with making light of all things regardless. My friend asked me before a movie last night what happened with Beasley, he heard something but didn’t know what, and I started singing Amy Winehouse. “Pat Riley want him to go to Rehab, he said ‘No, no, no.“)

So at the end of the day, this is another example of what happens when you start thinking about athletes as people. It’s harder to mock them, harder to enjoy their suffering, harder to genuinely hate them (unless they’re Vince Carter).  And it’s why I generally don’t post on arrests anymore, or lawsuits, or those things. Too often if I start to think about how it affects someone as a person, I’m left with the image of what I have of Beasley. A confused kid who was criticized for being emotionally immature without sympathy, and who probably felt on Saturday night like he was completely and totally alone.

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Getting back to the point of this, do you realize how many of us have posted articles on why pot is not a big deal in the last 48 hours? And by us, I mean everyone. ESPN. Sporting News. This is MY SECOND ARTICLE TALKING ABOUT HOW SOMETHING IS NOT WORTH TALKING ABOUT. MY OWN HUBRIS IS NECK PUNCHING ME AND DRY HUMPING ME WITH A SPEAR.

Whenever something like this happens, we rush to point out that it’s not a big deal. The hope (I think, I guess?) is to try and stem the tide of judgment and criticism towards the ‘crime.’ To try and spark a reasonable conversation versus “Damn drug dealing druggies!'” But in the end, all we do is make it a bigger issue. By trying to not make it an issue, we make it an even bigger issue. I AM TRAPPED IN A GLASS ELEVATOR OF WANKERY AND THE ONLY WAY OUT IS A HIGHLIGHT VIDEO.

The only way to really make a stand in saying that it’s not an issue is not to write about it. But if you don’t write about it, someone else will, and it will probably make you so angry with its judgmental attitude that you end up writing about it. Which propels the story.

Do I think it was newsworthy to post? Yes.  Because it impacts Beasley’s ability to play, which impacts sports. But even though I tried very hard to avoid implying Beasley was ‘troubled,’ just by posting on it I probably gave that impression.

The lesson? I need to bring back the ‘WHO WANTS TO SEX‘ posts.

Matt Moore

Matt Moore is a Senior NBA Blogger for CBSSports.com's Eye on Basketball blog, weekend editor of Pro Basketball Talk on NBCSports.com, and co-editor of Voice on the Floor. He lives in Kansas City due to an unbelievably complex set of circumstances and enjoys mid-90's pop rock, long walks on the beach and the novels of Tim Sandlin.