To some degree, Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby is right when he says the reaction to Michael Beasley’s traffic incident is “overblown.”
It is not like Beasley was drunk or high, he didn’t rob anyone and no one was harmed. People get speeding tickets all the time — especially if you are me driving a giant Buick — and they’re generally not a big deal.
But Babby is ignoring (or avoiding) one key thing with regards to Beasley’s case:
Most people who get pulled over for speeding are never put in handcuffs, regardless of how short a period they were actually worn.
Babby’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge there was anything to be concerned about is reminiscent of a certain film with a certain Black Knight who adamantly denied (in a not quite safe for work way) anything was wrong.
“‘Tis but a scratch.”
Well, yes and no.
Beasley’s latest offense is fairly minor, minus the criminal nature of driving with excessive speed and driving with expired registration. The issue, and this is something Babby acknowledged, is that someone with Beasley’s track record will be judged differently than someone with a clean record.
People make mistakes and are generally forgiven because hey, nobody’s perfect. But people who continually make mistakes do not get the same benefit of the doubt.
They don’t deserve it. Beasley doesn’t deserve it.
This is not to say the Suns should call signing Beasley a mistake and cut ties with the 24-year-old. Though inconsistent, there have been flashes of improved play lately and there is still an unbelievable amount of talent that could still be harnessed.
For a team like the Suns who are short on talent, that is not something to just toss away.
The best thing, for both the team and player, is to continue to try and work through these issues. By all accounts Beasley is a nice kid who wants to do well, but apparently just doesn’t know how. That he still has plenty of growing up to do is disappointing but not surprising, and it would behoove the Suns to see if they can be the team that finally benefits from a mature Michael Beasley.
But trying to minimize Beasley’s latest mistake, regardless of how minimal it may actually be, does not help anyone. Perhaps the public message differs from the private one given to the player. Hopefully it is because something has to change, and it’s not the media or fans.
Certain players live under a microscope, as Babby said, and Beasley is certainly one of them. While the prevailing thought may be about leaving Beasley’s past behind him, there’s really no way of escaping it. That needs to be accepted, not cast aside like it has no business being there in the first place.
Michael Beasley brought the scrutiny on himself, and now he has to deal with it. Just like the Suns, who brought Michael Beasley in, have to understand that is how things are going to be; that is how things have to be.