The phrase “Derek Rose’s brother said” should have never entered the sports lexicon. Derek Rose has a website (www.drosehoops.com). Derek Rose has a blog. He has a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, a YouTube channel… He has so many ways to communicate that if he wanted to make an announcement about his playing status in Chicago, it might take more time to decide the proper social media channel to use than it would take to type the words: “I’m back”.
But he hasn’t typed those words and he hasn’t said those words. Instead, “Derek Rose’s brother said” popped back into the sports world. What “Derek Rose’s brother said” is irrelevant when D-Rose’s voice isn’t injured. Nor are his fingers (for typing) last we checked. If he wants to say something, he’ll say something. If he wants to play, he’ll play.
The speculation about what his teammates think (nobody will criticize the cornerstone of the franchise publicly), what management thinks (see last parenthesis) and what the coach thinks (obviously, he’d enjoy having the former MVP back on the floor) doesn’t matter. All that matters is that somehow D-Rose ended up in a situation where, unless he comes back and takes Chicago to a title, he loses.
Whether or not he is pain free from his injury isn’t the issue anymore. The issue is that he has nothing to gain by playing now. If he plays, it’ll look like he was pressured to play. If he comes back and doesn’t play well, it’ll look like he came back too early. If he plays and is excellent, people will wonder why he came back so late. Anything short of a miraculous playoff run and he loses.
It didn’t have to be this way…
Early on, he said it would be up to the doctors when he returned. The first question still posted on a Q&A on his website (from a long time ago) still deals with this issue. Here it is:
Hey Mr. Rose, I’m a Filipino and a huge fan of yours. I just want to ask you this question, when do you think you’ll come back?
I really don’t know yet. It’s ultimately up the doctors to tell me that I’m 100% healthy. I’m working very hard though, and my knee is doing well, so I can’t wait until I’m able to get back out there with my teammates.
Now we’re learning that it’s not up to the doctors. The doctors cleared him months ago. It’s up to Derek…and, for his own reasons, Derek isn’t ready. And if that’s fine with the Bulls and fine with his teammates and fine with him, then it should be fine with you…
The problem is, he should have been protected from this situation from the outset. If he never planned on playing, then his trainer or his doctor or a team representative or somebody should have simply issued the following statement: “Derek Rose will be out the remainder of the 2013 season through the playoffs. He is coming along as expected, but our staff has determined it would be best if he had the full off-season to recover. He’ll be back to start next year 100%.”
Those three sentences would have diffused this situation months ago. Instead, Derek said it was up to the doctors, and now the doctors are saying it’s up to Derek. And so now the fans are asking, “What’s up with Derek?”
But Derek doesn’t want to talk because for his own reasons, good or bad, he doesn’t want to play yet. That’s his choice, but then that leaves everyone else with: “Derek Rose’s brother said”… Which is lame.