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Friday, March 22, 2013

Why We Forgive Athletes: Study Reveals Why Josh Hamilton’s Excuses Work on Baseball Fans

We’ll be together forever…forever and ever more Angels fans…

Jimmy Sanderson, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Clemson University, and Elizabeth Emmons, a doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama set out to examine forgiveness within Parasocial interaction. Using Hamilton’s situation as an example, the two researchers analyzed 474 fan comments featured on a Texas Ranger forum.

“Josh Hamilton is a perfect example of a transparent, likeable athlete with a lot of support from fans,” Emmons said. “With his well-known struggles with alcohol and other addictions, he has disclosed personal aspects that people can relate to, and thus when he falls short, people have an avenue to respond to him through digital media.”

The findings revealed that Hamilton’s supporters forgave him through offering support, “addiction is hard” narratives, human condition attributions and justification. Another majority claimed they were incapable of forgiving Hamilton due to his apparent character flaws.

Surprisingly a large segment of the forum’s contributors expressed feeling closer to Hamilton because of his endeavors. One fan commented: “You are just like all of us because we all stumble, fail, and have to get back up and recover from our bruises too.”

Repoz Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:23 PM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rangers

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   1. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4394542)
“You are just like all of us because we all stumble, fail, and have to get back up and recover from our bruises too.”

That guy in the bleachers didn't.
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4394559)
and he's white and religious.......
   3. Bob Tufts Posted: March 22, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4394561)
I'm still waiting for Hamilton to go all the way with the AA 12 steps and make financial amends to Tampa
   4. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4394565)
Maybe some things the steroids guys can learn in this?
   5. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4394568)
"Why we forgive athletes."

I'm always puzzled by people who hold grudges against athletes. I've never even been in a place where I needed to "forgive" an athlete. I watch them play. I'm not married to them. I don't care what they do off the field. Why anyone would care about this, or would judge an athlete or get "angry" with him or need to decide whether to "forgive" him is a problem with the fan, not with the athlete.

   6. AROM Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4394569)
"Maybe some things the steroids guys can learn in this?"

Do coke or heroin instead.
   7. JJ1986 Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4394571)
The team that Hamilton hurt doesn't have many fans. If he'd been a Yankee or Red Sox draft pick, the story would be different.
   8. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4394573)
I agree with Ray. Today I have complimented one of his posts and agreed with him. This to shall pass one imagines, but for now ...
   9. GEB4000 Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4394580)
Did I miss something? Has he shown up drunk or high for a World Series game? Being a little injury prone is the only sin Hamilton committed since he came to the majors.
   10. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4394586)
Forgiveness doesn't really enter into it. Sports fans don't really give a #### what an athlete does in his personal time as long as he produces on the field/court/ice.

Stop producing, however...
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4394587)
Did I miss something? Has he shown up drunk or high for a World Series game?


No, but he showed up having been drunk and high in the past. That was enough for some people.
   12. Spectral Posted: March 22, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4394600)
I think I'll always regard Hamilton as an idiot that was so talented that even his spectacular idiocy couldn't suppress his ability to swing a baseball bat. That's not really someone I have any admiration for.

There's not really anything for me to "forgive" him for though, it's not like he kicked my dog.
   13. Bruce Markusen Posted: March 22, 2013 at 06:46 PM (#4394620)
It's really very simple. Fan pay good money to watch their team at the ballpark. If they feel one of the players on the team is doing something that will affect his ability to perform at the highest level possible, it's only natural for some fans to feel resentment.

There's nothing strange or illogical about such a reaction. It's just human nature.
   14. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: March 22, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4394626)
“You are just like all of us because we all stumble, fail, and have to get back up and recover from our bruises too.”
That guy in the bleachers didn't.
that is probably the third worst thing i've read on BBTF this year.
   15. Bug Selig Posted: March 22, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4394628)
Forgiveness doesn't really enter into it. Sports fans don't really give a #### what an athlete does in his personal time as long as he produces on the field/court/ice.

Stop producing, however...


That's not peculiar to athletes, though. I don't give a #### what the guy who mows my lawn does in his personal time as long as he keeps the grass nice.

Mow the cat and ding my car, however...
   16. zachtoma Posted: March 22, 2013 at 07:24 PM (#4394633)
I'm always puzzled by people who hold grudges against athletes. I've never even been in a place where I needed to "forgive" an athlete. I watch them play. I'm not married to them. I don't care what they do off the field. Why anyone would care about this, or would judge an athlete or get "angry" with him or need to decide whether to "forgive" him is a problem with the fan, not with the athlete.


Exactly this. He didn't do anything to me. I guess I could understand if some Rays fans were still frustrated with him for blowing his shot with that franchise. Man, imagine the 2008-present Rays with Longoria and Hamilton batting 3-4.
   17. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: March 22, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4394638)
Man, imagine the 2008-present Rays with Longoria and four more prospects they got in the Hamilton trade.

FTFY
   18. Mayor Blomberg Posted: March 22, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4394649)
that is probably the third worst thing i've read on BBTF this year.


It's still early.
   19. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4394675)
Whether Hamilton gets forgiveness from people he never wronged seems a non-issue to me, but then again, if "issue vs. non-issue" was the litmus test for whether a sportswriter published something, we'd have far less sports writing. Far, far less.
   20. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 22, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4394692)
that is probably the third worst thing i've read on BBTF this year.

All I have to do is make a Web Gem and you'll be forced to forgive me.
   21. beer on a stick Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:10 PM (#4394703)
Mow the cat


We'll have none of that dirty talk here, young man...
   22. Justin T steals bases with his bat Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4394717)
Whether Hamilton gets forgiveness from people he never wronged seems a non-issue to me, but then again, if "issue vs. non-issue" was the litmus test for whether a sportswriter published something, we'd have far less sports writing. Far, far less.


Tell me more...
   23. Walt Davis Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4394739)
It's really very simple. Fan pay good money to watch their team at the ballpark. If they feel one of the players on the team is doing something that will affect his ability to perform at the highest level possible, it's only natural for some fans to feel resentment.

Even if we grant this assumption, what does this have to do with Hamilton? OK, sure, the fans in Charleston and Orlando might feel like they shelled out good money to watch a guy more concerned with smack than baseball. But there are no instances where he's done something that affects his ability to perform at the highest level in MLB or at any other level since 2002 which was over a decade ago and he has reportedly been clean for over 7 years now.

So anybody who feels even the slightest need to "forgive" Hamilton or feels they've been slighted or to even say that such an attitude is understandable is a child.

And now I'll point out that your argument is BS. This isn't a rational, economic decision people are making. People get irrationally emotional about players (actors, celebrities, etc). They fool themselves into thinking there's some sort of reciprocal relationship and therefore feel betrayed when the player "lets them down." That's understandable when you're that 7-year-old girl who loved Rickey Henderson but it's sheer irrational fantasy by the time you're 13.

Not that there's anything wrong with irrational attachment -- makes the world go round and all. But if you saw a baseball game after paying your money to see a baseball game, you got what you paid for. Bad choice if you picked the day when Shawn Estes was starting or the travel day lineup game or the Sept call-up minor-league all-star game or the one when Dock Ellis is tripping. Oh wait, that last one was a good choice at least once.

   24. Bruce Chen's Huge Panamanian Robot Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:58 PM (#4394742)
Josh Hamilton has never done a ####### thing to me. What do I have to forgive him for?
   25. Bourbon Samurai Posted: March 22, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4394744)
The only reason to be mad at Hamilton is if you are a huge tampa bay fan, so I am sure those 3 guys are kind of pissed, but it's not like they didn't have success afterwards.
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 01:06 AM (#4394831)
It's really very simple. Fan pay good money to watch their team at the ballpark. If they feel one of the players on the team is doing something that will affect his ability to perform at the highest level possible, it's only natural for some fans to feel resentment.


And then we got steroids, where fans felt that players were doing something that enabled them to perform at the highest level possible, and so it was only natural for them to feel resentment.

There's nothing strange or illogical about such a reaction.


It's strange, it's illogical.

It's just human nature.


It's childish at best, which I grant is human nature.
   27. boteman Posted: March 23, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4394870)
In which BTF regulars are revealed as non-Human...
   28. villageidiom Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4394890)
And then we got steroids, where fans felt that players were doing something that enabled them to perform at the highest level possible, and so it was only natural for them to feel resentment.
Because in many cases doing that "something" required the player to break the law, and fans didn't like the idea of rooting for criminals.
   29. BDC Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4394891)
Texas fan culture seems to me a little more bound up with moral judgments than that of other places I've lived. The "forgiveness" exhibited by Ranger fans is likely to be related to the couple of incidents where Hamilton had a drink in the offseason, which drew a lot of ink and bytes in DFW. Fans had bought into the redemption picture, and when it was seen to have a small smudge on it here or there, there was outrage. Some people follow sports like they'd follow soap operas or reality TV, and (like Ray and Walt) I'm not one of them. Now, I can see being disappointed in Hamilton for not catching that ball against Oakland last fall, but even then, mental and physical mistakes are part of the game too, and nobody but Jeter is immune to them :) The current theme in the DFW media is to get on Hamilton not for dropping the ball, but for reportedly saying, afterwards, "What does it matter?" – but when you think of it, there are guys who might say that after hitting a home run, too. What does that matter to a fan trying to enjoy the game itself?
   30. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:09 AM (#4394927)
I'm still waiting for Hamilton to go all the way with the AA 12 steps and make financial amends to Tampa

Why does he owe them anything? It was their decision not to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. If they had just protected him and brought him to ST, they'd have gotten 6 pretty good major league years out of him...plus draft picks. Also I'm not sure what to forgive or not forgive....addiction is an illness and people sometimes relapse. It's like having to forgive or not forgive a diabetic for getting overweight. You hire a sick person, they're going to have symptoms occasionally.
   31. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM (#4394929)
The "forgiveness" exhibited by Ranger fans is likely to be related to the couple of incidents where Hamilton had a drink in the offseason, which drew a lot of ink and bytes in DFW.


It wasn't just there. It was all over ESPN, too.

Kudos to Hamilton (and his agent, who probably worked very hard at it behind the scenes) for keeping clean long enough to land that megacontract, and best of luck to him in his efforts to stay on the wagon now that he's officially a multibazillionaire.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: March 23, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4395037)
Sorry, I got a bit more insulting in my post than is warranted. I guess I was on my anti-moralism moral crusade yesterday.
   33. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4395047)


I'm always puzzled by people who hold grudges against athletes. I've never even been in a place where I needed to "forgive" an athlete. I watch them play. I'm not married to them. I don't care what they do off the field. Why anyone would care about this, or would judge an athlete or get "angry" with him or need to decide whether to "forgive" him is a problem with the fan, not with the athlete.


I agree. I don't really get why some on here make such a big stink about Brett Myers' domestic abuse incident every time his name is mentioned. Yea, its awful, domestic abuse in general is awful. But its a separate issue from his shittiness as a pitcher (and curiously, Miguel Cabera's domestic abuse doesn't seem to get mentioned in every Miggy thread because...home runs!)

What about political views? Some here seem to hate Luke Scott or Jeff Suppan because of their outspoken conservative views (and others may hate Carlos Delgado for his anti-war views). Is that separate?

What about entertainment? Does an actor's boorish behavior or political views affect your ability to enjoy their art?
   34. ecwcat Posted: March 23, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4395092)
Let's see....public figure, makes millions, used hardcore drugs (also called breaking the law), almost ruined his career and squandered a chance the fans can never get, got caught on camera a couple of years ago at a bar, yeah, I'm shocked and puzzled why forgiveness would be a question for the unwashed masses.

The media influences fan reaction. Doc Gooden wasn't given the free pass like Josh has received. Steve Howe was routinely mocked. Keith Hernandez- not an issue. Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, Ramirez: killed. Andy Pettitte is a saint. The fact that some athletes are "forgiven" and others are not is the only thing that's baffling.
   35. Bug Selig Posted: March 23, 2013 at 09:26 PM (#4395130)
Miguel Cabera's domestic abuse doesn't seem to get mentioned in every Miggy thread because...home runs!


Or maybe people are smart enough to figure out that when police can't identify an aggressor in an incident between a 265-lb professional athlete and his wife - it wasn't him.
   36. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4395136)

Or maybe people are smart enough to figure out that when police can't identify an aggressor in an incident between a 265-lb professional athlete and his wife - it wasn't him.


Perhaps, but it doesn't seem like all the accused get that benefit of the doubt. Didn't Julio Lugo's wife retract her entire domestic abuse statement and it was all proven to be a lie? Yet he wore that scarlet letter here for years.
   37. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 23, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4395147)
Perhaps, but it doesn't seem like all the accused get that benefit of the doubt. Didn't Julio Lugo's wife retract her entire domestic abuse statement and it was all proven to be a lie? Yet he wore that scarlet letter here for years.

Whereas Bobby Cox never wore any letters of any kind.
   38. LargeBill Posted: March 23, 2013 at 11:59 PM (#4395179)
Josh Hamilton doesn't need to apologize to me. Jose Mesa on the other hand . . . .
   39. Lars6788 Posted: March 24, 2013 at 01:09 AM (#4395191)
I still think it's pretty much about #2 [regardless of whether the comment is in jest] - race and religion is what makes Hamilton more forgiveable even if no one wants to say it out loud.

In addition, pissing off your local columnists probably brands a player for his career in a particular city - I can imagine a columnist railing on some foreign born star player for his 'lack of something' whether it's perceived lack of hustle or feeling some perceived slight from the columnist's part.

Unlike Hamilton, the foreign born athlete probably can't 'hold court' in the dugout with the columnists / beat writers and be as loose or at least be accomodating enough to give the columnists something they can use.

Ultimately if a columnist writes enough stories one way or the other - then it paints a picture of an athlete that fans swallow up regardless of reality.
   40. jyjjy Posted: March 24, 2013 at 03:19 AM (#4395201)
I've never even been in a place where I needed to "forgive" an athlete.

So you've never been to Rhode Island?
   41. BDC Posted: March 24, 2013 at 10:21 AM (#4395226)
Does an actor's boorish behavior or political views affect your ability to enjoy their art?

I was a Clint Eastwood fan even back when he was starring in films where he drove around in a pickup truck with an orangutan – so, yes :) Conversely, Eastwood can separate politics from art while making art: think of his evident admiration for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins as actors that led to both of them playing the roles of their lives in Mystic River.

If an artist starts using his/her medium to express heinous views, that's another thing. Ballplayers clearly don't have much of a chance to do that, so I rarely know anything about their politics, and it matters extremely little: I daresay I am rooting sometimes for players I wouldn't want to hold long political conversations with. The rhetoric of most ballparks is so jingoistic that it's generally hard to tell if someone promotes such views or not unless (like Carlos Delgado) he dissents. But I can't say I admire Delgado for that dissent. I'd probably love to have a conversation with him, but his actual political gestures were restrained and dignified, and minimal in their impact, at least IMO.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 24, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4395229)
I'm a huge fan of the "classic" (1920's-1940's) age of movies, and contrary to stereotypes about "Hollywood liberals", the great majority of the big name stars of that era were conservative Republicans**, including nearly all of my favorites. BFD. It's not that I'm not glad to find actors or athletes who have a political view I agree with, but with the game on the line, what does politics have to do with anything?

**Gable, Stewart, Cooper, Grant, Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, William Powell, Dick Powell, W.C. Fields, Astaire, Crosby, Hope, Robert Taylor, etc. And many former liberals like Cagney, Sinatra and Reagan drifted steadily rightward as they aged.
   43. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 24, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4395232)
I'm a huge fan of the "classic" (1920's-1940's) age of movies, and contrary to stereotypes about "Hollywood liberals", the great majority of the big name stars of that era were conservative Republicans**


As was very strongly brought home to me just a couple of weeks ago when I finished Greg Mitchell's Campaign of the Century, on Ulton Sinclair's failed bid for the Calfornia governorship in 1934. Darned good book, & probably pretty eye-opening for anyone who ever subscribed to the fiction of left-leaning (a) Hollywood studios &/or (b) newspapers.
   44. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: March 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM (#4395236)
As was very strongly brought home to me just a couple of weeks ago when I finished Greg Mitchell's Campaign of the Century, on Upton Sinclair's failed bid for the Calfornia governorship in 1934. Darned good book, & probably pretty eye-opening for anyone who ever subscribed to the fiction of left-leaning (a) Hollywood studios &/or (b) newspapers.

Check out the one of the anti-Sinclair newsreels that were financed by Hollywood producers and presented as "impartial" when they were shown in theaters all over the state. They almost put some of our more recent attack ads to shame in terms of sheer outrageousness and concealment of who and what was behind them.
   45. haggard Posted: March 24, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4395270)
Some people follow sports like they'd follow soap operas or reality TV, and (like Ray and Walt) I'm not one of them.

You guys follow it for its serious implications on world affairs?

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