Whether we realize it or not, sports – and the people that participate in them – are a huge part of our lives. From social gatherings to a way to temporarily escape reality, anybody that watches it even casually will have at least one or two people that they speak fondly of. It’s human nature for us to seek out people and deem them good or bad guys based on our feeling of how they align with our personal lives. When we see traits in these people that we like, or even see in ourselves, that’s when we make them these larger-than-life figures in our minds.
In this case, it’s Roberto Osuna, the star closer for our beloved Toronto Blue Jays; a young, soft spoken 23-year-old that happens to be really good at his job. Because of that, he was seen as one of the good ones. Hell, we applauded his bravery when last year when he was open about his battle with anxiety, something that a lot of us can relate to. Of course this comes as a shock, right? We know him!
The reality is, we picture these athletes as some superheroes despite knowing nothing about them outside of their perfectly manicured public image or social media feed. When the cameras go off, we don’t know who they are or what they’re like. The one thing that we do have in common is our love for the game. And sometimes, that’s where the similarities end. Time and time again, we’re stunned by an athlete’s transgressions, prompting us to once again remind ourselves “man, these guys really aren’t shit.”
Sure there are those that recognize the power they have in society and strive to do good and give back, but the overwhelming majority aren’t that. They don’t all care about being more than just somebody who plays a sport for a living or aim to be role models for anybody’s kids watching, they’re just regular people who happen to be extraordinary at throwing a ball or swinging a bat. And hey, that’s fine by me.
They’re human, just like us, and a lot of times, they aren’t deserving of the praise we put on them. I’m not telling you that it’s wrong that your son or daughter worships an athlete, but eventually they’ll learn that sometimes, your heroes aren’t heroes, just like we all have at some point. Sports will crush your soul in so many ways.
But trust me, this isn’t some baseless “I don’t believe Osuna did it” bullshit that people are shouting from the rooftops on social media. Yes, in a court of law, you’re innocent until proven guilty, but this isn’t a legal matter. MLB has the right to suspend him for however long they see fit, even if the incident doesn’t lead to charges (see: Jose Reyes). An investigation will take place by people trained to do so, not us. Until then, the Blue Jays and league were right to cancel the giveaway of his shirt and have him placed on administrative leave until this all clears up. The people jumping to defend him based on absolutely nothing are as bad as those that want him tar and feathered over speculation. Yeah the court of public opinion is a hell of a thing, but do you really want to be that person that rushes to the defense of somebody accused of doing something reprehensible only because you like how they do their job in a jersey you like?
As we grow old, we tend to stop idolizing these figures, but the idea of good and bad guys still remains. This is such a shitty situation and I feel for everybody involved. Eventually the truth will come to light, but it still serves as yet another reminder that the complete strangers we hold so near and dear to us definitely aren’t the people that we fantasize that they are.