Unlike in the real world, when you’re an athlete and make a mistake, that indiscretion – no matter how big or how small – is magnified due to a player’s status in the public eye.
If you had a little too much to drink in college and broke a fence at a frat party, no one is going to come back to you 10 years later and say, “Sorry, Mr. Jones, but you can’t get that promotion because of that one time you did that one stupid thing…”
You’d probably argue you were a kid and made a bad decision and you learned from your mistake. You’d probably bring up your exemplary record since then and explain the different ways you’re making your community a better place or how you often volunteer with various youth groups.
That’s all assuming you did those things, of course!
So why is it different for professional athletes?
Take Metta World Peace. Back in 2004, when he was Ron Artest and playing for the Pacers, he was involved in one of the most notorious fights in all of pro sports.
Here’s A Refresher
If you watch the clip, even the analysts and broadcasters understand the tension that mounts when you’re playing your rival in their building. Fans can be pretty out of line and when you hear the details the Pistons fans that night really crossed every line of decency, but it’s Artest that is the one that was labeled a “troublemaker” and a “bad boy.”
Was Metta World Peace/Ron Artest out of line as well? Sure, there’s never any excuse to physically assault anyone. But since then he’s been heavily involved with many charities, causes, and trying to make the world we live in a better place.
However, people still bring up this fight from 13 years ago when you mention his name.