I don’t believe that Jalen Rose is a genuinely bad person. The 13-year NBA vet and current ESPN analyst seems warm and gregarious on air, and he’s been active in charity work following his career. He has helped to build reading centers around the country and donated $100,000 to Dikembe Mutumbo’s hospital in Congo. But if you hadn’t heard of Rose before March 2011, it would be hard to believe that a man capable of so much good could act so irresponsibly.
Rose’s troubles began on March 11, when he was arrested outside his hometown of Detroit for drunk driving. Drunk driving is a serious problem, but the list of famous athletes that have been arrested for a DUI is longer than the menu at the Cheesecake Factory. It obviously wasn’t a smart move for the 38-year-old, but even the best of us make a misstep every now and then. And if that was where Rose’s story ended, I probably wouldn’t be writing this article right now. The timing of Rose’s DUI couldn’t have been worse, as he was already receiving media attention for the debut of ESPN The Fab Five documentary, a film that prominently featured Rose during his days at the University of Michigan, and a film that Rose himself helped to produce. After the documentary premiered, Rose took more heat from the media after calling out Duke University’s black players of the early ‘90s, calling them “Uncle Toms” among other things. The Suns’ Grant Hill, who played for Duke from 1990-94, responded by calling out Rose in a New York Times editorial, surrounding him with even more negative media attention.
So why is Rose Rogue of the Week now? Well, last week, after Rose plead guilty to DUI, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail. This went down Wednesday afternoon. What happened Wednesday night? Rose got pulled over, again, for doing 46 mph in a 25 mph zone. Compared to a DUI, that isn’t much, but it’s more than 20 mph over the speed limit ON THE DAY YOU WERE SENTENCED TO JAIL FOR A DUI. Really, Jalen? Rose couldn’t control the fact that his comments about Duke aired just two days after his first arrest. But this time, he had no excuse, making him a perfect candidate for Rogue of the Week. I would guess he’s done at ESPN now thanks to these stupid decisions, seeing as The Worldwide Leader has a famously short fuse when their analysts get in trouble (see Harold Reynolds, Sean Salisbury, or Steve Phillips). Hopefully he learns something from his three weeks in jail and can return to doing good upon release.
Stupid NBA Move of the Week
As I’m sure you’re aware by now, NBA teams are not allowed to contact players during the lockout. This reached ridiculous proportions basically the moment it was announced, because, as part of the decision, NBA websites can’t mention current players, meaning that most team sites have been focusing on dance team tryouts and the like this summer. When Mark Cuban went to the ESPY’s on July 13, he couldn’t even talk to his players seated across the aisle from him. Last week’s news that the NBA has banned team scouts from attending college practices because they might run into current players there was just the latest escalation of the stupidest policy of the NBA lockout. This isn’t Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The players aren’t Lord Voldemort. Snatchers aren’t suddenly going to appear if you say an NBA player’s name. Scouts and team executives have talked to their players plenty before the lockout, and I’m sure they’ll talk to them plenty after it as well. Even though the league and the players may be on opposing sides right now, they all want the same thing eventually, in one form or another: the return of basketball. So why the taboo on communication?
The real stupidity of this ruling though, is that the scouts aren’t at college practices to see that school’s NBA alumni. They’re there to watch the college kids. If Mark Cuban, long one of the NBA’s most outspoken individuals, can sit through an entire awards show on national television without talking to his players, I’m sure the scouts—who don’t know the players as well as Cuban would—can hold their tongue and focus on what they’re employed to do, namely scouting. The league is only hurting itself on this one. It’s depriving its teams the chance to properly scout college players, and furthermore, it’s turning the general public against them by continuing to enact inane policies in the name of the lockout.