Derek Anderson looks foolish in his infamous postgame tirade, but he’s been unfairly criticized for his harmless actions.
With the Cardinals in the midst of an embarrassing loss to the 49ers on Monday night, Anderson cracked a smile and chuckled with guard Deuce Lutui. Big deal.
Anderson has struggled on the field, but a little laugh on the sidelines doesn’t mean he is slacking off. Teammates and coaches have praised Anderson for his work ethic in the past, so since there’s no history of character issues, there’s no evidence that he doesn’t care about winning.
In fact, his emotional response during his news conference shows that he really does care. Clearly, he had a lot of pent-up emotion that flooded out at the reporter. But if he’s the type of guy who expresses his anger after the game rather than on the sideline, then so be it.
Some coaches are fiery, some coaches are gentle. Some players play angry, some players have fun. Who’s to say what’s right or wrong? Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden both won Super Bowls with opposite approaches. Hines Ward smiles while catching a ball, Andre Johnson punches people.
Sports are emotional, and no emotion is either right or wrong. As long as the athlete tries his best, he shouldn’t have to act the way the public wants him to. Even during a loss.
What was Anderson supposed to do, sulk?
If someone has a long, hard day at the office, is he not allowed to still smile? Anderson should not be held to a different standard just because everyone watches him do his job. With Anderson on a sinking Cardinals team, he should be allowed to make the best of the situation, just like a normal worker might do at his or her job during difficult times for the company.
An athlete’s demeanor does not matter. It is the result on the field. Be upset with Anderson for playing poorly, but don’t be upset with him for acting like a normal human being.
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