By Matt Saler
Enough is enough.
Too many times these days we are discussing the same old issues in sports: a player holding out for more money… a league turning a blind eye to its retired players, who can barely walk despite that league generating billion dollar profits… criminal allegations against athletes… steroids… whatever the case may be, negative news will always jump to the forefront of the headlines.
And I hate it. Bring the topic of religion into the picture, and in most cases, things get crazier and go in a thousand different directions in the court of public opinion. The other day, however, I came across a very interesting piece on NBA basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire in the The New York Times. It discussed Amar’e’s recent visit to Israel to learn more about his Jewish heritage and the history and culture of the Jewish religion. Some fans have mocked this in online forums, and others have questioned why Amar’e was converting. Religion is a very personal issue and some of these “fans” need to get a grip on their own reality before questioning someone elses.
What most probably do not know about Amar’e is that he is a very articulate guy who gives back through his Amar’e Stoudemire Each One Teach One Foundation. He has demonstrated in other ways that he is a class act off the court through his actions: After leaving the Phoenix Suns for the New York Knicks this past summer, he took out an ad in his local paper, The Arizona Republic, thanking his fans for their support while with the Suns.
Being a resident of New York, the epicenter of culture in the United States, has clearly helped Amar’e look within himself to learn more about his history, and I commend him for that.
I enjoyed the NY Times piece and also Amar’e’s take on his Jewish heritage, as shown in a recent interview with Israeli TV (video below). Hopefully our society can get to a point where we stop caring so much about the scandalous details of an athlete’s life and look at a lot of the good that they are doing in society. Many have a very cultured life outside of their sport that fans do not know about.
It’s time to stop always dwelling on the negative and start stressing the positive.
Mazel Tov, Amar’e.
Matt Saler is a Senior Account Executive. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.