Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Scandal Makers

Recently, I've grown very weary of the sports media. This isn't so much an epiphany as it is a reluctant admission- an admission that as much as we like to think sports are somehow different, sports news is as scandal driven as the latest celebrity gossip column.

Case-in-point: Sports talk radio's bashing of Bill Belichick in the wake of two consecutive New England Patriot losses. (For matter of full disclosure, I am a huge Patriots fan.) ESPN's Colin Cowherd suggested that Belichick's coaching had suffered because in losing his trusted coordinators (Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini), he had lost a buffer between himself and the players, because of which the team was suffering. Other radio personalities have insinuated that Belichick's personality is somehow behind the Patriots recent struggles.

This brings to mind memories of 2003, when Tom Jackson told us that the Patriots "hate their coach" in response to the release of the popular Lawyer Milloy and an opening day, 31-0 trouncing by the Bills. After that statement, the Patriots went on to win 34 of 37 games and 2 consecutive Super Bowls.

The media, be it the sports media or not, is always looking for controversy. And they're going to give us analysis and explanations that skew toward the controversial. When there is no controversy, they manufacture it.

Take the Patriots- there's one player, more than any other who deserves to have blame laid at his feat- the golden boy, quarterback Tom Brady. Now I'm a huge Brady guy, but he's not having a good year and he has not gotten it done the past few weeks. Even forgetting the poor decision making, in both games he failed to grasp victory when given the opportunity on game ending drives. Personally, I think Brady hasn't been getting it done in tight spots since sometime in the middle of last season. Of course, this isn't the popular explanation, but it makes a lot more sense than blaming Bill Belichick's personality.

We could go on- the other day I woke up to hear about the latest incident involving Bobby Knight- only, this incident wasn't much of anything. He tapped a kid on the chin while he was yelling at him- no harm- the kid wasn't upset. Yet all of a sudden, it's a scandal. Bring on Carl Weathers, Tobias Fyunke, and poor narration, our beloved sports media is no better than scandal makers.

1 Comments:

Blogger A Fan For All Seasons said...

It gets better. I wrote about this for a journalism class. Two incidents in the past months were blown completely out of proportion and damaged reputations. When the first story was first reported, ESPN.com ran the headline "Suicide Attempt?" with a picture of Terrell Owens underneath. This ran, with "close friends" of Owens saying he was depressed, and there wasn't any word from TO.
The second indicent happened during the baseball playoffs. ESPN.com's headline read "Did He Cheat?" with Kenny Rogers underneath. There was no official word on anything, but the website immediately linked Rogers to cheating. Just because there was a question mark doesn't make the headline OK. They easily could've written Dirt-Gate or controversy. As I said in class, if you write cheat with a picture of Rogers, now Rogers is a cheater. You write suicide with a picture of Owens, now Owens is unstable and trying to take his own life. It's ridiculous and unfair. ESPN.com should be ashamed. It's one thing for sports radio to play the role of muck rakers, but ESPN is supposed to the worldwide leader in sports, and it's primarily a news network.

3:51 PM  

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