Let’s blame the victim. It seems to be what we like to do in this country. New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain suffered a “gruesome” open ankle dislocation last week and almost immediately the poison pens were out saying he should have known better and been more careful.
No, he didn’t get into a drunken barroom brawl. No, he wasn’t driving recklessly on a motorcycle. No, he wasn’t even playing a game of pick-up basketball (see, Boone, Aaron). What he was doing was playing with his five-year-old son, Karter. You know, being a dad. The specifics of exactly how his injury occurred have not been reported, but Joba was at kids’ recreation center in Tampa, the kind of place that has giant trampolines as floors, playing with Karter when he got hurt.
So, it’s only fitting that we blame him. As if blame is required. Of course, if you’re a sports writer like the Daily News’ Bill Madden it makes for a great column. Stir up the Yankee faithful with some inflammatory words and watch the views for your piece climb. Madden compared the injury Chamberlain suffered playing with his kid to that of another Yankee pitcher, Brien Taylor. Never mind that Taylor ended his career when he dislocated his shoulder in a fistfight at a bar. Talk about comparing apples to Bud Lights …
I’m just as guilty as the next person of wanting to assign blame and mainly for selfish reasons. As a Yankee fan, I want Joba healthy and in the bullpen making my favorite team even stronger. My initial reaction was that he shouldn’t have been on a trampoline. I know more than a few people who have injured themselves on those things. But I can’t fault a guy for playing with his son.
What makes the situation even worse is Joba was ahead of schedule from Tommy John surgery, which had him off the mound for much of the 2011 season. I follow him on Twitter, and Chamberlain, who often tweets about his son, seemed excited and happy to be returning to pitching. Now he may be facing a potential career-ending injury. So let’s kick him while he’s down because, you know, it’s important to assign blame.