Memo to Oden and Cutler: Fans don't go for the sensitive type


One thing about fans is we’re definitely the forgiving type. As long as my guys hit with runners in scoring position, they could lie, cheat and steal all they want. We don’t care how many women you impregnate or how much time you spend at the blackjack table the night before a big game; hit free throws down the stretch and we’ll call you misunderstood. That’s what gives guys like Michael Vick hope. I mean Ray Lewis murdered PEOPLE and still made the cover of Madden.

But there’s one group of players we just refuse to support. They can be great men, good fathers, standup citizens, but we’ll still trash them whenever we call into The Big Show with Cowboy Billy Barnes and his sidekick Rex. Of course, I’m talking about the over-sensitive guys, the ones who read everything written about them, find out about every trade rumor and immediately go in the tank.

We’ve seen some great talents fade into obscurity because they were unable to handle the pressures that come with being famous – think Ryan Leaf. We’ve also watched players like Donovan McNabb, a borderline Hall of Famer, whose thin-skin has never quite allowed him to win over the hostile fans of Philadelphia. Now you can add two more athletes to the endless list of celebrities who simply cannot get past the opinions of others: Greg Oden of the Portland Trailblazers and Jay Cutler of the Denver Broncos.

This week, Oden and Cutler showed us signs that they might be a little too fragile to handle the public spotlight. Oden, the top pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, told The Oregonian he feels like he can’t do anything right and doesn’t like the way he’s been portrayed. The oft-injured big man has watched Kevin Durant, the second pick in 2007, blossom into a top ten player while he has drawn the comparison to one of the league’s all-time busts – Sam Bowie. Cutler meanwhile, hasn’t been able to get over the rumor that he would be traded this off-season and has now suggested that he may skip upcoming workouts.

These guys have to be driving fans in Portland and Denver out of their minds, which says a lot considering they rooted for the Jailblazers and Bill Romanowski, respectively. Oden has been considered a gentle giant, but with that comes the idea that he’s soft. And who could argue? This is a guy who can chip a bone reaching for a bag of chips. When you’ve never proved yourself as anything but brittle, you can’t complain to the media that you’re being portrayed in the wrong way.

Cutler, on the other hand, is over-confident in his ability yet too weak to take any criticism. He’s the kid on your little league team who was told by his father that he is the star, yet can’t handle being brought back to earth. It’s almost like Stephon Marbury. He believes he’s the franchise when he’s really just an average member of the team.

One is no better off than the other. This week, both Oden and Cutler proved they can’t handle what others think about them. What makes it worse is that the media isn’t wrong about Oden being soft and the Broncos aren’t wrong for discussing Cutler’s future with the franchise.

The guys can’t even handle the truth.

Who knows what’ll happen when everything else gets thrown at them.


DUSTYWHO 4:57 PM, March 12, 2009  

Oden is 21 and learning. He's never been in a situation like this and he will figure it out. He will bring more championships to portland then durant will to OKC

Anonymous 5:35 PM, March 12, 2009  

Durant is not a top ten player.
In no particular order...

Chris Paul
Brandon Roy
Deron Williams

Those are AT LEAST 10 guys who are better right now.

Dan McGowan 7:39 PM, March 12, 2009  

Wiliams over Durant right now, certainly not if you we were starting from scratch and just redrafting teams.

As far as bringing championships, I'd imagine Oden will be in Portland longer than Durant will be in OKC. He might be on teams that win in Portland, but he won't exactly be leading teams to titles.

Patrick 7:42 PM, March 12, 2009  

The fact that you are actually lumping Cutler and Oden in the same group makes your point much less poignant.

Patrick 8:02 PM, March 12, 2009  

What the previous comment was trying to get at is you are simplifying a situation to make it suit your point. Their situations are completely different. One is frustrated being unable to play up to his own expectations due to injuries, the other is having difficulties dealing with a large ego check.

Anonymous 12:19 PM, March 13, 2009  

All you Cutler apologists need to wake up and see what everyone else outside of Denver sees. An overrated crybaby who is not mentally tough for the NFL. Thank GOD someone finally pointed this out. Dan is spot on with this. For Cutler to keep whining and threaten to skip workouts is simply unforgiveable. Get over yourself. Take some notes from Tom Brady or Peyton Manning guys who seldomly get phased by the rumors and negative press. Cutler could never play in big markets like NY, Boston or Chicago. Seriously, what has he done in order to develop this sense of entitlement? How many playoff games has he won? How many wins/losses? He is simply in the wrong here and someone needs to smack some sense into him.

As for Oden, it is clear that he is a bust. He has simply been underwhelming at best. Sure he needs to mature, but he has absolutely no impact as a player when he is on the floor. Kevin Durant might not be a top 10 right now but he is certainly on his way. Just think of how much better the Blazers would be with Durant and not Oden. If Durant was on a winning team they would be talking about him as much Kobe, Lebron or Wade.

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