Last night we witnessed the difference between superstar treatment of a MLB player who quit during a game while plagued by a stealth injury, Hanley Ramirez, and handling of LeBron James and Tiger Woods in similar circumstances.
Sensing that Ramirez, despite having “smoked” a foul ball off his ankle in a previous plate appearance, was loafing after a booted soft pop, last night Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez ejected his superstar shortstop from the game in the second inning. To make matters more interesting, Gonzalez did the honors in full view of the team in the dugout.
An obviously elbow-impaired LeBron James also recently quit on his team, in Game 5 of the playoff series between the Cavaliers and Celtics. Was James punished or questioned in public by any member of the Cavaliers organization? No.
Same thing with Tiger Woods at Quail Hollow in Charlotte last month.
Woods, while suffering from a neck injury that he hadn’t told anyone about, embarrassed himself during the final round with an appalling lack of effort. The next week at The Players, Woods actually quit during his round, citing an injury he’d failed to tell anyone about for months.
Was Woods questioned or reprimanded for his lack of effort and poor judgement by the PGA Tour or his golfing peers? No.
Though considering the percentage of income generated by Woods for the Tour, the golfer could probably even get away with astonishingly immoral off-course behavior and never face reprimand.
While I’d like to credit the standard set by MLB itself for what happened to Ramirez in relation to James and Woods, Marlins Manager Fredi Gonzalez probably has more to do with that discipline situation than differences in sport and context.
What Gonzalez did took muy huevos and tells me he’s in full control of that team. That sort of managerial approach in pro sports today might be rarer than Ramirez’s incredible talent.