Y'know, I really hate it when athletes lose and THEN come out with the stunning news that they've been playing in terrible pain. It seems to me that there's a chronology of acceptability and honor related to the interplay of winning and being injured:
1. The best situation for a player's name is when he/she/it is in pain and/or injured, but still wins. An example of this is Tiger Woods' stunning win at the U. S. Open last year. The guy was injured, and people knew it, and he still won.
2. A close second is playing not-hurt and winning. An example of this would be Tom Brady and the Patriots a couple of years ago, when their playmakers were iron men and the team won 18 games before the Super Bowl loss.
3. Next-most-acceptable is when a player is hurt, everyone knows they're hurt, and they lose. An example of this...the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL, people...seriously!) this year in the playoffs. They lost their best player to injury, and as a result they got eliminated from the playoffs. Everyone knew that the player was hurt, so when they lost the series, the responsibility was lifted from their shoulders a bit.
4. Less desirable is when a player or team is healthy but loses. Note that the disgrace of this event fluctuates, changing according to the quality of the loss (close vs. blowout), the quality of the opponent, and the missing of opportunities. For instance, the Celtics' playoff series loss to the Bulls was not very disgraceful for the Celtics at all, because the series came down the wire. However, the Pistons' playoff series loss to the Cavs was quite disgraceful for the Pistons, because the Pistons basically lay down and handed the series to the Cavs.
5. Most despicable, though, is when a team or player loses and THEN informs everyone that he/she/it was injured. For example: Rafa Nadal, who lost in the fourth round of the French Open at Roland Garros recently, just now lets everyone know that he's injured--his knees are giving him trouble. Now, everything seems to indicate that Rafa is in fact injured, and his injuries most likely did hurt his ability to run around on the court. So this is, quite possibly, a valid excuse...but should athletes give excuses? The answer is a resounding no.
And yes, I realize I didn't get into Movie Franchises at all. That post is upcoming.
Long live fringe sports!