Roberto Luongo Turns Down All-Star Game, Has Fans Crying Foul

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IJanuary 13, 2008

Has it really come to this?

As fans of sports, we find ourselves wanting the absolute best out our teams and their players.

And why shouldn't we? After all, we go through the ups and downs with them. We pay hard-earned money to watch them in the arenas or on TV for that matter.

But does purchasing tickets, jerseys, other merchandise give us the right to dictate what the players can and cannot do with their personal lives?

This week there was an uproar in Vancouver, and personally I'm not sure the recipients deserved the backlash from their decisions.

Professional athletes, by signing the big money contracts, by playing on the teams, and carrying such a high profile, are signing away parts of their private lives.

That is a given, in that when they walk down the streets, or try to enjoy a quiet night out, someone is going to recognize them, and they deal with that. It comes with the territory.

But have we as fans pushed it too far with the outcry this week over Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Early this week Luongo announced that despite being voted in by the fans to start the NHL All-Star Game at the end of this month in Atlanta, he would not be going.

Luongo politely turned down the invite, saying he wanted to spend time with his wife and family. For the record, Luongo's wife lives in South Florida and is pregnant, the baby due in April.

There was outcry from many fans, most of which say Luongo doesn't have the right to refuse the All-Star invitation simply because he wants to spend time with his wife. After all, he chose the career path, so he has to deal with the consequences.

I really was dissatisfied with the way a lot of the fans reacted to this. I mean, it's not as though Luongo has decided to sit out the playoffs. It’s not like he has decided to take a few days off in the middle of the Stanley Cup finals. This is the All-Star game.

The same fans who boast that "the game is boring and means nothing" are the same fans who roast him for not going.

If I am a Canucks fan I personally wouldn't be upset about this. It gives Roberto time off to rest, it gives him time to get away from the game for a bit (which is good for mental reasons) and it ensures that he is going to be somewhat fresher for the playoff run.

It also ensures he isn't going to be hurt in the “meaningless game.”

Luongo is a world class goaltender, and if I am a Canucks fan, I would rather see him showing the world his stuff in May and June than in game that doesn’t matter in the middle of January.

As you guys know I write mostly about the Toronto Maple Leafs. I enjoy it, as I follow the Leafs religiously. But I also am a huge hockey and sports fan in general, and I thought that every Sunday night I would end the week by discussing something that has been bothering me, or that has been a hot topic issue in sports, doesn't necessarily have to be hockey, could be any sport. I figure it's a nice way to get more experience, and cap off the week.

Next week in the Sunday Night Sports Report, I'm going to be taking a look at "The Best Ever Debate." I will examine whether or not I think that saying a certain player is better than another from a different era is a fair judgment.