Manny Ramirez and Paul Pierce Are Two Examples of a Disturbing Trend in Sports

Trent LaneCorrespondent IJuly 31, 2008

There are some questions in this world that we may never get answers to. Did Hermione Granger settle for Ron Weasley because she felt she couldn’t get Harry Potter? Why are we here? Does Martha Jones deserve her own Doctor Who spin-off? Will athletes ever learn to shut their mouths?

Over the last two days, I’ve seen two quotes from athletes that make me wonder if they actually think before they open their mouths.

Two days ago, when Paul Pierce was asked if he thought Kobe Bryant was the best player in the world, he said, “I don’t think Kobe is the best player. I’m the best player.” I’m sincerely hoping this was a joke, in the mold of Papelbon saying he deserved to close out the All-Star Game.

If you really look at it, it’s arguable that he’s the best player on his team. Even with that said, I would have a problem if Kobe said that Kobe was the best player. It’s mostly because I don’t like the bragging. Let your actions on the court speak for you.

Listen, Pierce brought his game to another level in the Finals and deservedly won the Finals MVP. For that series, he was the best player on the planet. However, that doesn’t mean that he is the every-day greatest player, but let’s leave that argument for another day.

Yesterday, it was yet another episode in the soap opera It’s Manny being Manny. Even the Manny apologists are having trouble with this one. While Manny Ramirez has made his views quite clear that he wants to be traded, during the game last night, he took out a sign that said he should be traded to Green Bay for Brett Favre.

I’m not sure if this was a joke, but I can assure you that the fans and media in the area aren’t laughing. He also gave an interview in which he said that the Sox don’t deserve him, and that they are trying to run him out of town like they did Pedro and Nomar.

To be fair, Nomar ran himself out of town, and Pedro sold himself to the highest bidder. Fans and management alike would just love for Manny to shut up and play hard. Instead, we are awaiting the dreaded “knee injury” or “dead relative” to pop up and sideline him for the year.

Here’s hoping Jason Bay is playing left field soon, and that these little stunts affect Manny’s new contract.

This isn’t just a Boston phenomenon. Nearly every athlete in every town has said something stupid. So why does it happen? Is it due to the fact that we, as fans, value their athletic prowess so much that we are willing to apologize for just about any comment? Are owners willing to throw money at them at such an early age that education becomes secondary to the pursuit of millions of dollars?

Do athletes themselves crave the limelight so much that they make ridiculous statements to get into the papers and on SportsCenter? Am I making too big a deal about this?

The answer to that is inevitably, “Yes.”