13 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Franklin High School Basketball Player Jonathan Montanez

  1. Except that this sort of thing annoys the Hell out of people with disabilities — in the sense that it’s viewed as a particularly patronizing and demeaning form of prejudice. There’s even a name for stories such as this — “Inspiration Porn”.

    For instance: http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2012/07/02/3537035.htm .

    A few comments by actual people with disabilities on the story:





    Frankly, I have an absurdly long list of links on this topic… but yeah. My take on the matter is *quite* different.

    • I get it, and to some extent, it bothers me a little. Like the commercial about the Down Syndrome girl being elected homecoming queen. It’s exploitive. I don’t particularly agree with putting him into the game. But as long as he was in it, what the opposing player did is hard to criticize. People with disabilities who bitch about it forget that it’s how the kid himself feels that matters. I dislike 3rd party offense deeply.

      • It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t link one particular response (apparently taken down; the author’s next blog was http://unstrangemind.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/more-than-i-can-handle/ , so I suspect… well), but…

        No, it’s not quite that simple.

        We have two different issues here — the team’s action and the news coverage. The news coverage was unspeakably exploitative, and that particular defense does nothing to cover *that* problem.

        Then we get to the kid himself… and no, we don’t know what he wanted. The story isn’t about him at all, and… gyah. I really, really wish I could link that response.


        The third party offense thing is a large part of why I linked responses from people with developmental disabilities. The one I couldn’t link was from someone with experience being in almost that exact same position.

        But… *Sigh* It’s late. I’ll write a bit more when I have the energy. Sorry for the incomplete and fragmentary analysis, but I really need to sleep.

        • “The third party offense” – if it were just that, it would be easy. Just determine whether the subject individual felt fulfilled or patronized. The problem is that this is typically not possible.

          Take one of those irritating restaurant surveys that seem all too popular. “How was your spam with salt garnish?” – The food may have been pure crap, but people will often say, “good”. Some waitstaff take it further and even tell customers how to answer (“How was your spam with salt garnish? … Good?”) Well in a restaurant, the quality of the survey data is unimportant, because it is intended to be irritating or marketing, but never will be good information gathering, but that’s the point. One cannot simply determine with reasonable certainty that the kid will not realise xe has been patronized. That could be immediate, or it could come later as xe thinks back on this.

    • It doesn’t appear that the initial intent was to make a huge “inspiration porn” moment, but the media got hold of it, so…
      Depending on the cognitive level of the receiver of the fame, this sort of thing may be the most wonderful, memorable event of their life. Mitchell didn’t seem traumatized, and frankly, he didn’t seem overly excited by it either. I don’t think HE was exploited, rather the whole situation was once the news of it left that gymnasium. I don’t think he was being patronized, either. His coach and teammates were showing him that he is important to them, and that they care about him. That the opposing team player got involved is inspiring.
      Mitchell finally got to play, and he made a basket–not the winning basket, but HIS basket. The action of Montanez was awesome and I loved watching the results. Yes, I am an “inspiration porn” addict.

      • My reservation was and is that he was forced to risk humiliation in order to set up an inspirational moment. Being pushed onto a basketball court in a competitive game without the experience or skills required to play is like being pushed on stage to play a part with having ever seen the script—the so-called “actor’s nightmare.” The opposing player helped rescue the kid from feeling like he got the chance of his life, and blew it.

  2. Wow. As tears fell from my eyes. “Inspiration Porn” was the last thing on my mind. Kind of wish I hadn’t read the comments on this one.

    • If “tears were falling from your eyes” it was already inspiration pornified.

      The coach already said that was his whole goal. Y’all need to try some empathy for the kid, who shot five times so his coach could heroify himself. That’s HUMILIATING.

      • It’s only humiliating if he was in fact humiliated. Pro players miss 5 times too. I agree that what the coach did was exploiting the kid to make himself feel good, and that it was an unethical risk to take. But again, the Hero was the opposing player, who salvaged the situation nicely.

      • Well, my focus was on the kid from the other team deciding to help another student who was less fortunate than he in terms of his ability to play basketball. And that was mixed with feeling relieved and happy for the kid who finally made a basket after 5 failed attempts. THAT was what was touching. It would have been even more selfless if his team was losing. If having an opposing player flub an inbound pass was also part of a plan to pull heartstrings so that the coach could increase his status, then that is sickening. By the way, you don’t get to decide WHAT I had an emotional response to.

  3. A rare moment in the competitive world of sports – giving it all up for one moment for a peer in sports. There’s so much peer pressure for High School kids with stories of rampant bullying against anyone that can be bullied. But even though this act could be construed by some as being gratuitous, it was nonetheless an act that was the polar opposite of bullying. And the lesson to be publicized here I think was an adult who saw an opportunity and one High School kid, being empathetic to another High School kid who was obviously struggling. The act of Winning in itself has been tainted most recently by adult players using steroids in baseball and blood transfusions in bicycle racing, etc. Lots of adult players react with tantrums if they lose in tennis, (not to mention actors like C.Sheen highly publicized in the news for his stance on winning at the cost of insanity). And these are adults we should remind ourselves. But here we have a High School game, where at least ethically, the losers end up winners, & the winners end up winners.

  4. A coach puts the kid in to reward him and give him a thrill and all some people can do is bitch about it or find the negative in it.

    I guess we should go back to when we kept handicapped people, or challenged or special needs or whatever the word of the day that we can say without offending someone, locked away out of society’s sight. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about them having real interaction with other people where people accept them for who they are and want to be nice to them or find inspiration from them. You know, interact with them like they do everyone else.

    • Yeah ok what I see here is able people being very upset that disabled people are telling them that being “nice” to disabled people isn’t the same as treating us as people.

      Keep provin’ us right.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.