Monday, November 27, 2006

Big Angry Ben

With all the hoopla surrounding Big Ben - from Sam Smith essentially calling for his head to some bloggers hailing him as a modern-day Rosa Parks ("stupid rules are meant to be broken") - I thought it might be interesting to hear what others think about the rift.

Personally, I think Ben was frustrated and acted pretty damn childish. He knew the rules coming into the year, yet he decides to act out after a six-game slide and his first zero rebound game in eight seasons? While the rule is silly, it should have been taken care of behind closed doors when he signed his insanely large contract (which he has not come close to earning).

The Bulls need an inside presence more than ever and Ben needs to act with some maturity and humility. Maybe that's asking too much from him, I don't know. We've witnessed his past run-ins with coaches. I'm hoping it's not.


Blogger BenGo07 said...

Big Sweet,

Skiles, Noce and I discussed this in a lenghty back and forth email conversation today, one that I probably should've posted.

Noce basically agreed with you, believing the dispute could have been handled a lot more discreetly. Skiles is in Ben's corner, arguing that it's a stupid rule and that based on Ben's past performance, he should be given the same type of leeway that folks like Shaq or Iverson get. I argued against this, pointing out that while Big Ben may have earned respect for the Pistons, he's done little on the court to receive it from the Bulls. It's not his effort I'm griping with, but the final product hasn't been there, and they played pretty well against the Knicks when he was on the bench. I'm not writing him off yet, but I don't think he deserves any special treatment either.

Probably the most interesting aspect of our conversation, though, was the relationship between managment and labor in the sports world. As Noce said, in the regular world, he almost always sides with labor, but he was hesitant to do so in this instance. This brought to my mind the thought that the sports world is indeed different, not when it comes to owners and labor, but when it comes to management and labor. Big Ben is basically getting 4 times what they pay Skiles (the real one) and probably ten times what they're paying Pax. (What is a general manager's salary? Maybe your dad's friend would know.) That salary disparity suggests to me that if management wants you to jump through some stupid hoops, you either jump through them resentfully but quietly, or you simply ask management, in private, why they're making you jump through them. Maybe Big Ben did this, and Skiles and Pax are just being petty and arbitrarily exerting power, in which, fuck 'em, they deserve all the hassle they're getting. But if that didn't happen, then I gotta put the blame on Ben.

6:36 PM  

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