Law & Order was on the air for twenty years. One of its spinoffs, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is still going strong after its first season in 1999. A reason these shows are so successful, beyond the addictive “ding-ding,” is because they feed our love for the simple dichotomies: the police and lawyers are good; the rapists, pedophiles, serial killers, wife-beaters and the like are bad. Good may not always triumph over evil, but you always know the “right” side to be on.
Rarely do real-life scenarios ever present themselves in a such neatly-wrapped, bow-tie-on-top manner. Greys dominate a world that yearns for black and white.
When Patrick Beverley made a play on the ball and collided with Russell Westbrook’s knee, causing Westbrook to tear his meniscus, forever burdening a former picture of health with knee issues, he was immediately branded the culprit to Russell Westbrook’s victim. Never mind that it was a basketball play, one Westbrook and Beverley alike attempted many times before and after – from that moment on, it was simple: Russell Westbrook was the good guy, Patrick Beverley the villain. Never mind the nuance – such as the fact that the play was a basketball play, one Westbrook and Beverley alike attempted many times before and after – because doing so would wreck the simplistic division.
Today, Yahoo! Sports reported that Beverley suffered a torn meniscus, and is out for the remainder of the season, if not the playoffs as well.
Houston guard Patrick Beverley has suffered a torn meniscus in his knee, league sources tell Yahoo Sports. Timetable for return unclear.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) March 28, 2014
Cries of karma and poetic justice rang violently through the twittersphere – what goes around, comes around, and that sort of glib tripe.
There’s just something royally fucked up about cheering a player’s injury. Aside from the fact that the Rockets are more fun with Beverley, this is a person’s livelihood in question. Beverley scrapped and clawed his way from Europe to the NBA, and he knew the only way he’d be able to stick is if he competed harder than anyone defensively. Can this style be over-aggressive, irritating, if not reckless? Yes, but it’s a far jump in logic to assume that causing harm is the intention.
Life isn’t black and white. There are moral absolutes, to be sure, but the distinction between right and wrong, good and bad, hero and villain is never as clearly defined as we’d like. Patrick Beverley made a basketball play on Russell Westbrook a year ago. The result was unfortunate, but not intended. Now, nearly a year later, Beverley suffers the same injury. There’s no call for elation – Beverley didn’t deserve the injury, and this isn’t some case of the basketball gods exacting a fitting retribution. It’s just the body failing to perform the unnatural actions basketball demands of it.