One of my favorite movies of all time is A Bronx Tale. In a great scene in the movie, the character played by Italian American actor Chazz Palminteri, a gangster named Sonny, has a unique way of comforting a young charge about a Yankees World Series defeat.
The young boy, named Calogero, was upset because Mickey Mantle cried after the heart breaking loss. Sonny, in a rather direct manner, asked why he felt this way…because in a big picture world, Mickey Mantle was a megastar who didn’t give a shit about him, his family, or the struggles they faced every day.
As the boy grew into a man, he never felt the same way about the Yankees again.
I think that scene has a lot of merit because of a truth that was revealed to a boy that couldn’t have comprehended it before hand. And if Mantle was aloof towards his fans in the ’60s at all, he’s got nothing on the modern athlete.
In 2011, while American families still struggle to recover from the economic recession, NBA owners have locked out their rank and file players because, much like the NFL before them, they can’t figure out how to split their billions.
And while negotiations take place, and the matter eventually gets resolved, please remember that these players, like Mantle decades ago, won’t give a damn about you or your struggles either.
Yes, there are players that care. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints still helps recovering Katrina victims from his home base. Fellow football player Warrick Dunn created a foundation that has purchased many homes for struggling single families. It’s my belief that guys of this caliber are few and far between.
Maybe that’s just perception. We hear so many more stories about players involved in domestic violence, drunken driving, and in the case of Plaxico Burress, literally shooting themselves in the foot. Ironic. We need better from those in the spotlight.
But the athlete, or any celebrity for that matter, is a fallible human being, who’s really not required to care about anything but themselves if that’s their choice.
I am a big Yankee fan. My grandparents loved the Yankees, especially legendary shortstop Phil Rizzuto. I harbor no illusions, though. As much of a fan as I continue to be, I realize the Yankees are the cream of the crop of the spoiled rotten gazillionaire athlete. And that will probably never change.
But I’ve changed my attitude. And maybe you should too. The next time you arrange your day around your team’s game to cheer for your favorite player, in lieu of maybe doing something with your family, keep this thought in the back of your mind: Just like in the movie, Mickey didn’t care. ARod doesn’t care, and neither does LeBron.
The striking NBA players don’t care about you, just about the bucket loads of cash they will fight tooth and nail over. So return the favor and don’t care about them so much.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Monday Night Football is on. I’m anxious to see which millionaire plays the hardest tonight….
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent” – Lorenzo Anello (Robert DeNiro) in “A Bronx Tale”
Did you like this article? If so, don’t keep it from your friends! Share it, tweet it, and tell me what you think of today’s modern athlete in the comments section.