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Good Guys, Bad Boys Loved By Fans When They Win

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Good Guys, Bad Boys Loved By Fans When They Win

Sports

Good Guys, Bad Boys Loved By Fans When They Win

Good Guys, Bad Boys Loved By Fans When They Win

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/139737040/139735861" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Let's examine our mixed feelings about athletes and their public personas. We need to recalibrate how we define athletes as "good" or "bad" people, which means a halt to both the knee-jerk demonization and the casual hagiography.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Let's go now to a common story in sports - achievements juxtaposed with misbehavior. NPR's Mike Pesca offers these thoughts on how to think of the golden boys and unbearable bores.

MIKE PESCA: I've never spent Time with Tim Tebow. You neither? Well, thanks to Thom Brennaman we now know this is a deficiency that can be a barrier to self actualization.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

THOM BRENNAMAN: If you're fortunate enough to spend five minutes or 20 minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it.

PESCA: Another athlete who's almost universally loved - Twins slugger Jim Thome - this week, became the eighth player to hit 600 home runs this week. Mario Impemba and Rod Allen - broadcast team for the Detroit Tigers, the very team he victimized - epitomized the coverage.

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MARIO IMPEMBA: Rod, he is genuinely one of the best players I think in terms of genuineness. He's just an all around good guy. There's not a person in baseball that will have anything bad to say about Jim Thome. And just a great feat for him tonight.

ROD ALLEN: You know, he played on a number of different teams throughout his career. But he's been a stellar individual, and it couldn't happen to a better guy.

PESCA: At the begging of Kirby Puckett's career, Sports Illustrated's Rick Telander wrote the strongest little man in baseball may also be the sweetest. Everybody loves Kirby Puckett. After Puckett's career ended, the same magazine wrote a cover story - The Secret Life of Kirby Puckett - which delved into his sexual indiscretions and violent acts.

W: Unidentified Man #1: Yeah, free spirit and all that stuff. We talk about him being a free spirit, but he always told it his way. And, you know, it really didn't matter to him who was around, he was going to speak what he thought.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

PESCA: Mike Pesca, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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