Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Alzheimer's Patients: Pat Bowlen of The Denver Broncos and Donald Sterling of the Los Angeles Clippers

It is pretty surprising that owners of professional sports teams have made issues such as Native American rights and Alzheimer's disease such hot button issues.

But, maybe it shouldn't feel so surprising considering the history of sport and its omnipotent presence in everyday life.

Sports consistently brings political and social issues to the forefront of the world and American life.  It feel like this is what sports does and has been accomplishing since Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics or Jack Johnson as heavyweight champion in 1908.
Alzheimer's disease is getting more press from the sports world due to the latest soap opera of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA franchise team. And, now there is more news regarding Alzheimer's as the owner of the Denver Broncos, Pat Bowlen, has announced his retirement due to the disease and will step down as chairman of the board.
As the most commonly known form of dementia, Alzheimer's debilitates a person's ability to be themselves. Mostly, the disease confuses a person.  People with Alzheimer's have problems with memory and language.

Donald Sterling's outbursts recorded by an ex-lover unveiled discriminatory remarks and insensibilities to people of color.  This is what began the circus of the LA Clippers over the last few months.

For Pat Bowlen and the Denver Broncos, it is unlikely his retirement will spin the franchise out of control. His recent announcement came off as no more than a formality.

So, what is the big difference in how the manifestations of Alzheimers for the two owners is being played out in the media?  Why was one owner able to remove himself with dignity while the other is the butt of jokes?

Surely there are differences in who these men are as people.  Pat Bowlen is mainly seen as a charitable person who built a winner behind the scenes.  Donald Sterling is mainly seen as disingenuous and someone who was willing to let his team sink to the bottom.

Ultimately, though, both of these men have many positive traits and some drawbacks in who they are.  The lesson of what has transpired for both due to the disease is how 'family' gets involved.

Family is the saving grace when it comes to this ruthless disease.  Family is the protector.  Family helps make wise decisions regarding all transactions and treatments.

If a person was righteous and honest in their life, made lasting relationships and partnerships, a family was nurtured and love was formed all around them.  It is likely that family will take care of a person in times of trouble or doubt.

It feels like Donald Sterling's family was not stable and strongly built enough to handle the Alzheimer's crisis. For Pat Bowlen, it feels like the opposite happened.

1 comment:

  1. Well, talking about John Facenda, you did an excellent job by writing about him. He had a beautiful narrative voice. We must never forget about those people who entertained us at some point in life.