Gerald Green Illness Secrecy

In an age where everything is public and leaked to the media, what happened to Gerald Green this week in Miami remains confidential. Because no one is talking, the mystery of what happened to Gerald Green feeds off of the rumor vine, leaving his medical “crises” open to interpretation and speculation and gossip and even consumption. It’s symbolic of the conundrum:  the right to know versus the right to have a secret. The privacy afforded Green by the organization who pays him, the Miami Heat, is a throwback to a different age when privacy mattered and no one thought otherwise. It is not necessarily a bad set of values to adhere to, even in this day and age of mass consumption of the most personal details where everything is a commodity. Except on the basketball operations side of things, the Miami Heat missed Gerald Green this week.

The Heat could have used Gerald Green last night in Indiana. They could have used him earlier in the week when they were trounced by Atlanta. Not that Green would have helped defensively but his offense would have forced Atlanta to make adjustments and who knows how the Pacers would have adjusted to Green.  C.J Miles or Paul George on defense?

But lets be clear here. Basketball is a nice debate to have on a Saturday night but falls far short of life and health and to that end I praise the Miami Heat for respecting the privacy of Gerald Green and not putting his personal life up for discussion as if whatever happened to him this week was one of those things that should be funneled through a prism of entertainment. This is not a hybrid version of a bad reality show so why reduce it to low hanging fruit just for dramatic effect. Why turn it into a talking point for two separate groups of people waiting to react: those who sympathize with professional athletes and those who despise professional athletes.

The facts are pretty basic and at the same time sketchy. There was a 911 call where an unidentified woman says:

“I have a resident that just passed out. He’s bleeding.”

That could mean almost anything. The only statement the Heat have released is “We’re grateful that he’s safe and he’s healthy right now. And our thoughts are with him and his family.”

Heat back-up guard Mario Chalmers was with Green when he was taken by ambulance to the hospital. That’s where the information dries up. It’s curious that in a previous comment Eric Spoelstra said of Green, “he’s safe…” Generally, that’s what you say when someone is missing and then found, or when there are wounds self-inflicted or inflicted by a second party. The Heat further stated their “concerns were with Gerald.”

Online guessing about the source of Green’s hospital stay is available for interested parties but good luck finding the truth there. Of course people will dig around until they discover why but that doesn’t negate the fact that we do not have a right to know everything. Privacy isn’t a luxury granted to those human lives absent media coverage, who live quietly. Everyone, no exceptions, has the right to a separate life away from scrutiny and speculation and most importantly, moral judgment.

Organizationally, the Heat took care of one of their own by shutting the rest of the world out. They took a stand to not traffic in gossip. In a media culture that lacks compassion and boundaries, the Heat recognized they had to take the lead here. If you say you are family then you take on the habits of family.  You act like family.

It is still unclear when Gerald Green will return. The Heat play on Sunday, opening a long homestand, 7 games. On the schedule is only one championship contender, the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are the Heat’s opponent on Sunday. Kobe Bryant makes his final trip to American Airlines Arena on Tuesday, followed by Utah, Minnesota, Sacramento, Philadelphia and New York.

So far, on the young season it’s been a mixed bag for the Heat. They’ve had inconsistent performances. They are 24th in scoring. 23rd in assists. 15th in 3-point accuracy. 5th in scoring defense. 7th in field goal defense. 21st in rebounds. 3rd in blocks. 13th in fast break points.

It’s only the first month but the Heat need Gerald Green. But only if he’s healthy. And safe.

photo via llananba