The Big Issue: Sport and the Media

Posted on June 7, 2011

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LeBron's MediaBefore you indulge in this piece about the media’s influence on sport, allow me to introduce myself. I am Muzzy Daud, new member of the blogging community and this is my first post. So, without further adieu, lets begin.

What exactly is an athlete? An online dictionary suggests the following: “A person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise, or game requiring physical skill”.

From this definitive definition, we can summarise our own. “A person that is continuously degraded and constantly is deprived of his privacy”. Maybe that is not the correct definition, but its mine. And I am sticking to it.

For years, we have been mesmerised by certain athletes that provide us with such joy, assisting in giving us our daily doses of triumph. These athletes give us all a sense of satisfaction, knowing that he only strives to be the best for his beloved fans. Sure, we get the occasional sport star that only cares for himself, waiting for his over inflated wage slip, going home knowing that he only strives for personal accomplishments. But those stars, they are few and far between.

The money can get to their heads, can't it Mayweather?

We are more accustomed to the adrenaline pumping, heart pounding action that we see from our favourites. They treat the fans as if we are all priceless paintings that must not even accompany a miniscule mark. Yes, you are right, I am referring to the paintings as us-the fans. Athletes crave for approval from their hierarchy, the fans to them must be satisfied without any hiccups. Notice, when we spend our hard-earned income on various matches to witness live and in the flesh, who enjoys the experience more, us, or the athletes? Sure, the athletes do enjoy plying their trade professionally, welcoming the perks that being a star has.

However, during a match, where one is drained and contaminated with sweat, where a lethargic sense begins to seep through their tired, worn out bodies, where every fibre in their entire anatomy is willing them on with false hope, when the dread sets in of letting the fans down, or the elation of being victorious, that, that is when you realize that these stars put themselves in agony for our entertainment.

So, with that all said, to the naked eye, one must believe that we contribute to their success and their happiness. But we all know the real answer, don’t we?

If not, I guess I will have to explain. Follow me,

Everyone’s dream is to be a rock star, to be famous for something other than a crime or for a reason simply incomprehensible. Why? Isn’t that obvious? To be loved by millions of people, to hear your name being incessantly chanted and to be viewed by the public in awe at your unfathomable abilities that got you where you are today. If this were all true, then the world would be a much greater place. However, life is not that simple, is it? For the lucky ones who succeed in their quest for superstardom, they live a truly happy, auspicious life, experiencing the most coveted accolade that one can ask for. Yet, no one is the winner. No one enjoys this lucrative life merged with the perfect professional and private life. Why I hear you say? Simple, because of the media.

The New York Times

The media has been around since the 1800’s, an incredibly long period of time for an organization as corrupt as this. The media specialize in bringing news to the public in the form of newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, broadcasting and other various types. Their intentions are to bring breaking, updating news to the general population, and believe me, there are some forms of media that even a cynic like me can appreciate. I for one overindulged in the use of social interaction, finding out news every second in order to keep updated in the world. For that, the media is a very, very powerful tool. However, there is one misconstrued ability that the media holds to its name, the authority to make or break someones life.

Reading this, I can already begin to hear the bemusement of my theory, so allow me to elaborate.

Ever since its invention, the media have focused on bringing much-needed news to the forefront, providing great, insightful coverage that gives its viewers analytical content from a respected writer. But, now what do we face? Today, the media has changed – and for the worse. We seem to be encapsulated from quick, real-time news on vital occurrences of everyday life. Instead, we now face the abrupt news of shock and horror, news that rattles our bones, the dreaded day that a pampered celebrity dumps their partners. What has this got to do with sport? Read on,

Just how are the Media twisted?

The perfect example of how the media is bad for sport

These headlines are not only related to the glorified movie and music superstar, no. The headlines also refer to the lives of athletes. These athletes put themselves on the line for our joy, yet respect we do not give them. Respect seems to have illuminated from our grasp, and now instead of appreciating the vastly enthralling entertainment we see from our athletes, the media pummel them for a cheap headline. Of course, this is just not acceptable.

There is a thin line, very thin line that differentiates private and professional lives, and what do the media do? Subliminally merge them into one huge fiasco. It’s not the media’s fault to delve into a story, find out all the diminutive details that instantaneously create a headline. Their conscience provides them with incentive to do so, after all, it is their livelihood right?

But what the media should do, is draw a separate line dividing personal, and professional. Do we fans really want to know about the happenings of these stars in their private lives? Do we really seek gossip, that entails such controversy? I am sure that we can keep our cravings for gossip to a minimum, after all, the implications are far worse for our athletes than anyone else.

If we had committed infidelity on our partners, be sure that it will not be the main news at the front of the page. Compare it to a sport athlete, you can bet your bottom dollar that the newspapers will have a huge spread on it. Why? For sales. To gain some valuable income at the expense of exposing hard-working, innocent sport stars who just want to do what they do best, being our heroes.

The media have continuously created negative views on sport, be it the controversial World Cup Bid that saw England lose out to Russia, or be it luring some player away from a team without knowing the full details. Cheap headline, for a substantial cost on an athletes life? You weigh it up. Leave the private life at home , and do what needs to be done professionally.

Sorry media, there is no place for you in sport.

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Posted in: Sport, Media