As with any type of entertainment or segment of pop culture, sports intertwines with society's major issues fairly easily. And this summer was on exception with the case of Eddy Curry and his battle over DNA testing with the Chicago Bulls...The mainstream media needs to pick this case up because this is a challenging issue.
For those of you who have not been following the case, here's the quick synopsis and final stage of the Curry/Bulls case as reported in the late-night edition of chicagosports.com.Check out "Heart Wrenching" by Marlen Garcia
. And here's Sam Smith's take in today's Chicago Tribune.
First off, how can you fault John Paxson
and the Bulls for their choice to purue a DNA testing to ensure that Curry does not have a fatal heart issue?
After all, Curry through his agent, Leon Rose
, has countlessly denied taking a DNA test that may foretell congentive heart disease. The denials, the warning signs of arrythmia, doctor's warnings, and an accelerated heartbeat that halted Curry's season, have all led to the Bulls believing that Curry may have a serious, if fatal heart condition.
One only has to look to the Reggie Lewis
case in Boston. Lewis's former agent, Jerome Stanley, stated this week "I've seen this movie before", and he wished the family, himself, and Reggie Lewis would have taken more precaution.
(Lewis and his family denied doctors' recommendations to halt his playing career after discovering heart troubles....Unfortunately, we know the story that ended with Reggie Lewis dead on the floor.)
If Curry had signed with the Bulls, submitted a DNA sample and tested positive for the heart condition, his career essentially would have ended.
In that case, the Bulls were prepared to give him a 50-year annuity that would pay him $400,000 a year.
That's not a bad deal...Especially, when you consider the consequences if Rose and the Curry parties are wrong with this health choice.)
From an outsider's POV, Paxson seems to genuinely be looking out for Curry in the long-run. He also has the unenviable job of placing his organization's interests first.
Think about it...What if Curry collapses one day?...And no matter what position Rose stands upon, there would be lengthy liability issues involved if Curry does prove to be unhealthy.
On Curry's end, you can see his point. He's risking $60M/6 years vs. $400K/50 years...Big difference...He wants to play. And he has received the "go-ahead" from heart medical professionals.
Yet, why won't he take the test? It's to his benefit. His refusal also makes you wonder about what does he know already.
So, this is when it becomes a national issue.
Should an employer force an employee to submit a DNA test when giving out a long-term contract or policy? Should DNA be used to predict alcoholism, cancer, and other conditions in order not only protect an employer's investment risk?
If you look at Curry's case from an insurer's POV with the amount of money involved, the refusals for DNA testing, and history of fatal heart conditions with athletes, Curry is a tough case to insure.
With that said, should the Bulls be faulted for caring too much? Would a DNA test be inconclusive anyway? What if Curry does have a fatal heart issue? Has anyone heard of (let's trumpet out the well-known cases) Hank Gathers, Reggie Lewis, Flo Hyman
or Pete Maravich
for that matter?
On the basketball side, how do you trust Curry's work ethic from his previous experience? He has had several weight problems and often self-admittingly out-of-shape.
What happens after he enters camp with a 6 year $60M deal?
If Curry does develop into a premier player, the Bulls really got the bone. The organization took major hell for drafting Curry in the first place, and they worked like hell to get the baby-fat filled Curry into 'man' shape over the past four years.
The Bulls invested a ton of time working with Curry's game both on-the-court and off-the-court in terms of eating and living habits after they drafted him out of Thornwood H.S.
Remember, it was only just four years ago that Eddy was simply a 'Baby Huey'...
(You may also remember that the Bulls also put up a lot of with Curry's constant griping in the papers after his first season about not wanting to train with the Bulls' conditiong team in order to train with ex-Bulls trainer, Tim Grover
Now, when looking at Curry, that's another piece to the case as well. Even though Grover does an incredible job with his clients. His program wasn't pushing the hell out of Curry like a organization's coaching staff and head coach, Scott Skiles, wanted to do.
With a questioned conditioning past, do you trust Curry's work ethic after one dedicated season...Has anyone heard of Ike Austin
Now that it's a foregone conclusion that the Bulls have to worry about Curry's off-season conditioning, Isiah Thomas
and Larry Brown
are going to reap every bead of sweat and every penny put into the Bulls' nurtured South Side investment...That's a shame.
Why? It's a shame because the Bulls are very close to a championship contender in the Eastern Conference. With their blend of team chemistry, they could be contending with Curry for the EC title in a short span of time and for a long time.
Curry could be a great piece to the Bulls puzzle...But that "could" also surrounds the "if" Curry develops into his potential that he displayed last year, which was averaging 16 ppg in an average of 29 minutes of time.
On the Knicks end, Curry will be a nice piece to the Knicks' major Playoff Contender puzzle. With the Rucker League sized roster of the Knicks, the Bulls big-man is now the focal point for the Knicks' inside game.
However, that's also if Curry chooses to maintain the work ethic and performance that he put forth last season,..and that was for only one season,...to earn the respect and worth for his new contract.
For the Bulls, the good thing is that they got something in the form of Mike Sweetney and Tim Thomas
because Curry would have been forced to sit out the season with nothing in return when he would become a unrestricted free-agent next season.
Yet, this move is a gut-wrenching loss for Bulls fans...Because now, whatever bad happens to the Bulls, fans will always be sniping at this move.
Personally...whew...looking at it right now, Paxson made the right call.
If Curry is healthy throughout the rest of his career and he lives to 90, then it was a mistake. But with this case, you have to look at the information at hand...Paxson made the right call by getting something when all he would have had this season is nothing.A very tough one indeed,IronDog
P.S. At least it appears that veteran, Antonio Davis
, appears to be coming back...His love for Chicago is why I dig the big man so much...Hit up the possiblity here.