Rhonda Rousey’s admission of contemplating suicide after her knock out loss to Holly Holm has made large waves through the sporting world.
Every single one of the reports I’ve seen about that fight has used dramatically descriptive words such as “shocking loss” or “impossible upset”. That’s part of a huge problem, and the media/UFC PR team are mostly to blame for it.
The Titanic wasn’t even promoted as this unsinkable. Rousey wasn’t just the unsinkable ship, she was the iceberg sinking all the others.
What was tragic about this is the complete and utter turnaround that night and next day. Rousey couldn’t have been ripped harder by the very people who’d built her up in the first place. She was deemed washed up, a shadow of her former self. The credits were rolling.
If she hadn’t been considering killing herself in the moment, reading any social media post over the next week probably would have done it.
Not only was it completely disgraceful to humanity and completely unfair, it also undermined what should have been being talked about: the amazing uprise of Holly Holm, also undefeated, also tearing apart the competition, and clearly the better prepared fighter on this night.
Even worse, it’s not exclusive to this situation. Kobe Bryant was shredded over the last couple of years. Now we all love him again. Look what was said about Sidney Crosby when he had a slow start. People couldn’t wait to be the first to tell us why his career was over. You probably want to edit those statuses for re-issue. Look what was said about Tom Brady after starting 2-2 last year. Wrong again. This happens over and over in every sport.
I’m not saying we can’t call them out on bad plays. I’m not saying we can never try to predict a downfall or give reasons why an athlete may or may not be able to maintain a certain standard. But although high performance athletes should be subject to criticism, we as whole need to be more supportive and less eager to chop them down. Even though they perform superhuman feats (and get paid handsomely to do them), these are humans beings with feelings. What’s more super about them is, as we should all know by now, more often than not after getting chopped down, they get back up. Unless I felt really confident in what I was saying and not just looking for attention, I wouldn’t want to be the one holding the axe.