There’s a lot of good that comes with being a professional athlete: money, fame and of course a supermodel girlfriend. For Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander, he can check all three of those off of his list, but I forgot to mention one more — public perception.
On Sunday night, leaked naked pictures of the popular MLB couple, Verlander and his blonde bombshell girlfriend Kate Upton, hit the internet. Now that these pictures are open to the public, it is going to overshadow baseball and be the new topic of discussion for Verlander.
Who wouldn’t want a 22-year-old model as their girlfriend? I’m sure there are a million guys standing in line just waiting to catch a glimpse of Upton as she passes on by, never to be seen again. For a normal average-Joe kind of guy, a girl like Upton is a dream, but for an established celebrity like Verlander, she is turning into a responsibility. Verlander has a contract with the Tigers, and it’s his duty to live up to those terms.
Did I mention his team is in a heated race to win the division? Well, they are, and the Tigers need Verlander at his best down the stretch.
Take a look at Verlander’s ERA over the past few years before Upton came along in 2014: 2011 – 2.40, 2012 – 2.64, 2013 – 3.46, 2014 – 4.68. I’m not going to blame Upton as the sole reason for Verlander’s increase in ERA over the past few seasons, but I’m sure she has somewhat of an effect on it.
Now that the pics of Upton and Verlander have gone viral, it is going to be hard for Verlander to shake this from people’s memories. Verlander is always going to be remembered for these pictures no matter what he does; it’s just the way of the world now. We like to capture celebrities at their lowest moment and use it against them. If the Tigers do indeed make the playoffs and Verlander takes the hill, I’m sure fans are going to heckle him on every pitch thrown — and rightfully so.
The spotlight follows athletes around whenever they step on the field, so it’s important for them to embrace the attention and use it in a positive light. It’s going to be interesting to see the fallout from these pictures and if they affect Verlander’s performance with the Tigers. It’s easy to forget that the world is a pretty big place, but the internet ties everyone together and it takes away all privacy.
Professional athletes need to keep track of everything they do and make sure what they do is conducted in the privacy of their own home so it doesn’t have a chance of leaking out for the whole world to see.