I'm starting an honor roll for pro athletes who - to their everlasting credit - speak out about problematic adults. From hanging around locker rooms and batting cages as a sportswriter, I know that players who reach the top often shake their heads at the parents, coaches, others who mistake Little League for the big leagues. Not many speak publicly about it, though.
Let's recognize the ones who do. Already in the club:
Wayne Gretzky: "[E]verybody asks the same thing, 'Do you think my son can make pro?' The answer is, he's 15, just enjoy it. Just let them have fun."
Billy Andrade: "The problem lies in the money. If there were no prize at the end of the rainbow, would families be doing these things? I doubt it."
Today's honoree, Joe Dumars.
Here's what the former NBA star and current Detroit Pistons president recently told Bill Khan of the Flint Journal:
"Some of these parents need to stop. They need to stop and just let these kids be kids. When I go to Country Day games [his kid's high school team], on the road or at home, I find the farthest corner of the gym and I go and sit deep in the corner by myself and stay away."
More nominees? The floor is open.