It's Best to Just Forgive Derrick Rose Now

By Brian Neal
Derrick Rose Chicago Bulls
Jerry Lai – USA TODAY Sports

A year ago, Derrick Rose was the beloved messiah of Chicago Bulls basketball. He had already won Rookie of the Year, an MVP award, been selected to three All-Star games and one All-NBA First Team.

He’s a young man who not only seemed too genuine and down-to-earth, but was even a bit naive of those facts. He’s a true picture of innocence matched with unrivaled Superstardom, a combination the likes of which we may have never seen before. And at that time, he was the fallen messiah; everyone was just waiting for him to rise up.

However, during the 2012-13 NBA season, he never did.

Now animosity and doubt surrounds Rose from many of his “former fans.” Is he tough? Does he understand the blue-collar Chicago mentality? How could he just sit there on the bench while his teammates, riddled with ailments, continued to battle on heroically? Does he not care?

The Bulls’ last game of the year was Game 5 against the Miami Heat on May 15. That date marked one year and three days since he had his ACL reconstruction. Rose, obviously, never stepped on the court in anything but a warm-up outfit or Armani during that time.

His criticism stems from return dates of other players. Most notably, guys like guards Ricky Rubio and Iman Shumpert who came back right around the 8-10 month mark of their rehabs. Even a center as big as Kendrick Perkins came back from this injury in about six months. But these athletes aren’t in the same class as Rose, nor do they carry the responsibility of a championship-caliber team on their shoulders.

Rose’s decision not to play at all, despite how long his rehab ended up lasting, can be justified because of what he could have risked. He and his close group of agent B.J. Armstrong, manager/brother Reggie Rose and the rest of his family were looking at the next 12 years of his career, not these past 12 months.

Many people called him the healthiest player on the Bulls down the stretch in the playoffs, and they were right. But was the risk worth it? Should he go on the court if he can’t be the Derrick Rose of old?

If this were a movie, yes, he would have. But this is real life and in this case, whether or not it was the right decision to not come back doesn’t matter anymore, and here’s why.

Next season, when No. 1 steps out onto the court and performs like the MVP, everyone and their mother’s will forgive him.

Think about this for a minute, regardless of how upset with him you may be. The sports world has forgiven the sleazebag of a person Tiger Woods, who cheated on his beautiful wife with countless women. It’s forgiven Ray Lewis, who may or may not have killed two people, and we may never know. It’s forgiven Michael Vick, who had an extensive dog-fighting ring in his backyard.

And you’re going to sit there and tell me how you’ll never forgive Derrick Rose, who committed no crimes or dirty acts of any kind. But instead, simply recovered from a serious injury a couple months longer than you would have liked.

Yeah, right.

In sports, we love to tear players down with every little possible criticism. The higher the level of superstar, the better. But more than that, and this is overlooked, we love the comeback and uprising even more. Say what you want, everybody loves a hero.

Next season, Rose will be a hero to many. He’ll come back bigger, stronger and faster than ever. And you’ll forgive him almost immediately; it’s inevitable.

So, before you look like a complete hypocrite to all your family, friends, coworkers, etc., take this time to ask yourself how upset you actually are, and just forgive him now. It will save you a lot of trouble in a future that is closer than you expect.

Brian Neal is an intern for and mass communications student at Lewis University. Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23 and “Like” him on Facebook.

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