Outta’ Right Field: Athletes need to learn a lesson

By Nick LaRosa
May 1, 2012

It is now the month of May. By this point in the sports season, athletes on playoff teams should be playing their hearts out every night of the week and doing whatever they can to help their teams succeed. While teams like the Nashville Predators and New York Knicks are fighting for their lives, some of their players seem to have their heads elsewhere.

After a 104-94 loss to the Miami Heat on Monday, April 30, Knicks star Amare Stoudemire took out his frustrations by punching a glass case that housed a fire extinguisher, causing serious injury to his hand. The Knicks had just gone down 2-0 in the series but they now have to move forward without Stoudemire due to injury.

Out in the desert, the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes took advantage of the Predators to go up two games to none in the series. After the loss, Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov, two of Nashville’s best offensive players, thought it would be smart to miss team curfew. Because of team rules, both ended up being disciplined for one game a piece in a series that already favors the opposing team.

While mistakes do happen to everyone, the stakes are much higher for professional athletes, especially around this time of year. In the span of just two days, three talented players cost their teams potentially comebacks and also damaged their chances to jump back into the lineup and contribute.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear about these foolish things I can’t help but wonder what they’re thinking. Someone like Stoudemire contributes to the Knicks all season long and then lets a frustrating loss potentially end his season. Kostitsyn and Radulov failed to comply with a team policy and now their entire roster has to pay the price, which may severly damage the Predators’ hopes of mounting a comeback against Phoenix.

If you look at the number of times an athlete has been guilty of a crime or cited for driving while intoxicated, you’ll probably be concerned. Many times, such accusations stem from incidents away from the field of play, yet still have a detrimental impact on the players’ teammates, coaches and family members.

Sports fans live and die by their teams and the last thing they want to hear about is the suspension of one of their star players for a moronic incident. If you’re an athlete whose team is in the playoffs, play smart and be smart.

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Nick LaRosa

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