Written by Dr Jim Tunney on February 26, 2018
On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS February 26, 2018, #681…”Old School”
After further review…A recent news story reported that a rookie NBA player is charging $199 for an autograph. It caught my attention. This player is less than one year from playing at the college level yet is drawing attention. We will allow him some anonymity since he is personally unknown to this writer. The article also contained information that he will not allow “selfies” or signing other memorabilia that an autograph seeker might request.
There are promoters who bring established athletes together for autograph sessions. Promoters charge a fee for those seeking autographs, and the athletes receive remuneration for their time, signatures and/or photos with the fans. Most always these athletes are well-known and retired from their playing days. But a rookie? Granted, in today’s sport’s world anybody with any kind of notoriety – good or bad – seems to draw a fan’s attention.
Some athletes disdain, avoid and are even rude to autograph seekers. Too bad. And yet, taking the side of those athletes, one must admit that they are often interrupted from their daily routines; e.g., shopping in a store or eating in a restaurant and the like. Let athletes be reminded that avoiding or ignoring autograph seekers, especially the young, is the wrong way to go. But, perhaps, that’s just “old school.”
Probably as well-known as the best of athletes was Harlem Globetrotter, Meadowlark Lemon. He tells the story on himself of a man carrying his young daughter, age 6. The Globetrotters had just finished a game and were at a black-only diner getting something to eat, when this fan approached Meadowlark and said, “My daughter wanted to meet you and give you a hug and a kiss. She loves you.” Granting her wish Meadowlark said, “Well, thank you, sweetheart. That’s nice.” The father said, “No, thank you Meadowlark. She has an illness and is dying.”
Maybe it’s “old school,” but we remind teachers, who may have a disruptive student in their classroom: how do we know that one day that student might just be the doctor who saves that teacher’s life? The kindness shown to others has its rewards. For athletes their fame is fleeting. And while their life in the limelight may last only a little while, they have a duty to be kind – even to those who are not mindful of their privacy.
Will you respect the value of another even though they may ignore yours?
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