Zion Williamson has faced all sorts of criticisms in his young career; most of it stems from injuries and weight issues. Swin Cash, New Orleans Pelicans VP of basketball operations, defended their star player and claimed the attacks on the 21-year-old need to stop.
The narratives on Zion Williamson need to stop
Zion has received unkind remarks from critics and TV personalities because of his weight issues. As professional athletes, it's their responsibility to keep in shape and discipline. In Williamson's case, he was seen in photos with the apparent weight gain, and trolls were quick to jump on the hate train. Memes were created, and some even had to photoshop Zion's increase in size to drive a point.
Even NBA personalities such as Charles Barkley fired his shot. Any comment about Zion gets reactions and views and brings in money for media sites. It may be a light-hearted comment, but it's still unwarranted given the difficulties Zion is already facing.
"It looked like me and Shaq had a baby."
Among other people, it was Chuck who had to make that joke. He himself had trouble keeping in shape when he was still playing. It was part of his job to make sensational comments, but it only added fuel to the hate against the high-flying forward. Meanwhile, it was reported that fans in Washington chanted "ZI-ON'S CHUN-KY!" At some point, the bullying and weight shaming have got to stop. Fortunately, a Pelicans team executive has stepped up.
Swin Cash to the rescue
Swin Cash, a former player herself who now serves as Pelicans' VP of basketball operations and team development, defended Zion from criticisms.
"Imagine photoshopping a 21yr old every chance you get and leaving harsh comments for likes. Whew the clown behavior really is shocking Especially from adults!"
Does Zion deserve the weight shaming? No. As a professional player, it's his responsibility to be in shape, but other details are unknown to the public. According to Basketball News' Jonathan Concool, the injury setbacks he suffered recently pushed back his return, further keeping him out of the loop and in-game shape. Every athlete's body is different, and the added pressure and bullying are not helping.
If fans feel good attacking a young player recovering from an injury and sports analysts are having a field day making unwarranted jokes, there's something wrong with the system. Bullying is different from objective criticism, but the borderline blur most of the time.
Zion needs to focus on his recovery first and not mind what social media pundits say. It's his body, and only he knows what really happens to it. But, on the other hand, the Pelicans need to step up and defend Williamson from bashing and provide all the support he needs to get back to playing soon.