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Watch how Rose plays, ignore what he says

I reached what I thought was a tipping point with Derrick Rose in March. A reporter had asked him when he would return from his most recent knee injury. Given his history of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, the smart thing would have been to say, “As soon as possible.’’

He said, “Who knows?’’

I took that exasperating statement and ran with it like a madman.

Since then, I’ve moved back toward center from the edge of sanity. When the Bulls guard talked Monday about becoming a free agent in two seasons and about the need to take care of his son financially – never mind the tens of millions of dollars the father has already earned – fans and media ripped him for it. I rolled my eyes at what he said. That’s all it deserved.

If it were anybody else, you’d be right to think what he said about free agency was calculated, self-centered and poorly timed. But it’s Rose, a man given to saying things that clank and clang as they come out of his mouth. I think he heard the phrase “need to take care of my family” from some other millionaire athlete and thought that was the thing to say.

I’m going to try to follow my own advice this season, though I don’t know if I’ll succeed: Watch how Rose plays when he plays. Don’t listen to what he says.