There are lots of things we can forgive in this world. Take Andy Pettitte. He did what many players allegedly did during the "steroid era" in baseball. He took performance enhancing drugs to make himself better or stronger, or to heal from injury quicker. In short, he cheated the system. Of course, virtually all evidence points to the same being true for his long-time teammate both with the Yankees and Astros, Roger Clemens. In the case of Clemens, he is clearly one of the greatest pitchers ever to take the mound, but he too -- by many indications -- gamed the system.
But, there's a difference. Pettitte admitted doing it. He was contrite. He was remorseful. If there is one things sports fans love, it's a good comeback. Hell, we let Michael Vick return from prison and the systematic torture and abuse of animals. But, Clemens? He is still considered by many to be nothing more than an egomaniacal liar who cheated and won't fess up.
Some things, it would seem, are virtually unforgivable, which brings me to Chandler Parsons, the now former Rocket who signed with the Dallas Mavericks in the offseason. Fans are often sad to see former players go, but generally welcoming them when they return. Sure, they might boo on occasion. Mario Williams was booed when drafted first by the Texans and receives a smattering of the same every time he is back at NRG Stadium. But, for the most part, fans appreciate what players did for their teams and get the business of it all.
That is likely how it would have been for Parsons when he made his return to Toyota Center on November 22. He was a fan favorite and I think most of those who love the Rockets were more aggravated with the team's decision not to match the Mavericks' offer than they were with Parsons joining Mark Cuban on the team's in-state rival. That all changed on Tuesday when, after the first preseason game of the year, Parsons decided to make it personal.
I think most of us were not all that shocked to see Parsons fit into the Dallas "lifestyle." It is the capital of cosmetic surgery and the small forward is an aspiring model. He even flirted with a Kardashian. Again, not a shocker given his pop star persona, which we could excuse when he played for Red Nation. But, I don't think anyone thought he would stoop to bashing his former home.
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On Tuesday night, after the loss to the Rockets, he was quoted as saying, "It's cleaner (in Dallas). It's a much, it's just like a nicer, cleaner city than Houston. In downtown (Houston) there's not much to do. It's just businesses and it's just kind of dirty."
When asked about the rivalry between Dallas and Houston last week, players from the Texans, who were about to face the Cowboys on the road were a bit flummoxed. Most of them, not having been born in Houston, don't understand the intensity given the Cowboys aren't even in the same conference and only play the Texans once every four years. To them, it was just another game. That was until half of Jerry World was filled with Battle Red and Texans fans forced Tony Romo into silent counts on offense. Suddenly, the antagonism between our two cities made sense.
Far too often, it's a ridiculous rivalry based on almost nothing, but Parsons clearly was unaware of the gauntlet he threw down when he decided to call us "dirty." We know Houston is no great beauty, but we think Parsons might be confusing clean with "tacky," and we'll happily take gritty over garish any day of the week.
I suppose a guy whose hair literally never moves during a game might be a bit obsessed with image. I understand that someone who spends his spare time modeling designer jeans might prefer bottle service to bottle beer. That's fine. Dallas would seem to be an ideal suitor for him in that regard. But, dissing the place where the fans who supported you through thick and more than a little bit of thin feels below the belt, even for someone who apparently has decided to put the Big D in douchebag.