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Derrick Rose’s comeback is inspiring but is it still okay to root for him?

Last night was one of the most magical nights in sports history. Without a doubt, there will be an ESPN 30 for 30 made, a Sports Moment of the Year award handed out or some kind of memorial for the NBA game that took place on Wednesday, October 31st, 2018.

For that is that day Derrick Rose dropped a jaw-dropping, career-high 50 points in a much-needed home game against the Utah Jazz. Mind you, this was his first 40-plus game since his almost career-ending injury in 2011. After becoming the youngest recipient of the NBA’s prestigious MVP, the now 30-year-old guard has been through it.

For perspective: he won Rookie of the Year in 2011, became the youngest MVP at the time in 2012, tore his ACL in 2013, came back, tore his meniscus in 2015, came back, tears his meniscus again, comes back again, and now, in 2018, scores a new career-high 50 points.

Perhaps the greatest tell for how special the night was his teammates’ reactions seconds after the win. After securing the victory with a clutch block, he was swamped by the five on the floor and the entire bench in what was a well of emotions.

Everyone felt it, and everyone understood that the moment was bigger them all of them. As did the world.

Even Lebron James, who is a former teammate and the unofficial ambassador of the NBA, had thoughtful and well-spoken words for the guard from Chicago.

Following a win over the Dallas Mavericks, he had shared what Derrick Rose’s moment meant to him:

“Any kid that’s going through anything in life about adversity and triumph and trying to get over the hump. You can look at that performance by Derrick Rose tonight. Even when a superhero is knocked down, he’s still a superhero at the end of the day and Derrick Rose just showed us why he’s still a Superhero.”

But apparently, not everyone shares this sentiment. Seconds removed from Derrick Rose’s ‘moment,’ Twitter was bringing up his 2015 rape charge.

While acquitted, many felt like the jury was enamored with Rose’s celebrity, that his defense campaign focused more on smearing the accuser instead of defending Rose. Not to mention Rose admitted not knowing what ‘consent’ was on the stand.

Rose later signed with the Knicks, kept his shoe deal and went along with his life but it’s trickier today than it’s ever been in the past when it comes to these sorts of things.

Socially, we’re in a completely different space than we’ve ever been before. An innocent verdict, acquittal or dismissal of a case doesn’t always mean blameless in the court of public opinion or in real court for all the matter.

Kavanaugh feels like it was just yesterday and if you can’t remember that, Bill Cosby was just sentenced. If that piece of news missed you, you should read up on Louis C.K. trying to make a comeback.

On one hand, Derrick Rose’s redemption feels like a long time coming but on the other, it’s also the worst timing ever. This led me to ponder: are we even allowed to be happy for Derrick Rose? Because in this era of cancel culture it seems that the list of people we’re allowed to support is dwindling by the second.

From blocking certain artists from streaming platforms to dressing up as Michael Jackson on Halloween and listening to R. Kelly’s music, it’s clear people have no idea where their morals lie. It’s all relative, situational and convenient.

Yes, what Derrick Rose was accused of was disgusting but does that take away from what he accomplished and what it meant and does that make us bad people for wanting to celebrate it?


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I believe that for the most part, our hearts are in the right place when it comes to amplifying the voices of victims but what progress is made or what’s constructive about diminishing moments that bring good, especially if it doesn’t help the cause?

Men should be held accountable; but when our moral code blinds us from the bigger moment, maybe it’s us that should be held accountable as well.

Life has nuance: we can root for the good while filtering out the bad — they don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Unless we’re willing to fully eradicate everyone and everything associated with what we juxtapose, calling out Rose is hypocritical.