How Sports Have Gone From Section C to TMZ

By Andrew White

Lance Armstrong’s eyes seem to sink into his skull. He is baring his soul to Oprah Winfrey as he confirms the suspicion of many people that he had taken performance enhancing drugs and tells of the court cases where he lied as he animatedly defended his name.

A few days after that, another sports figure was getting grilled by day time television as it was revealed that Leni Kakou, Manti Teo’s Internet girlfriend, was actually several people imitating a female. Soon the perpetrator of the scheme, Ronaiah Tuiasopo was on Dr. Phill and confessed that he fell in love with Teo. This highlights the trend of sports stars going from the sports section to the tabloid section, begging the question, is this good for sports?

The answer is a mixed yay and nay. There was once a time when the stars could be all kinds of crazy, but if they played well it was okay. Take for instance Ty Cobb. He was the definition of a jackass. He spiked players with his cleats, he single handedly held back the integration of baseball, and he had many drunken moments off the field. Speaking of drunk, the most famous Yankee ever, Babe Ruth, would play the game drunk at times and was known to scream profanities during the game. However it was okay. These were great players. That is why I am happy that we keep a bit of a guide on our players. Yet now it seems like we are actively seeking out their flaws and have border line attacked the people that entertain us.

It seems like sports stars must be watching over their shoulders just in case a member of the paparazzi is watching them. Johnny Manziel, or as some fans call him Johnny Football, is known for his play on the field. However, he has started to develop a reputation off the field due to the hounding of the media. It all started with Johnny sitting on the sidelines at a Mavericks game. An announcer took the chance to lambaste Manziel by claiming, “There is no way a college kid can afford those kinds of tickets.…”
As time progressed the claim was proven to be a false concern, but the flood gates had opened, and soon every move Johnny made was second guessed. He posted casino pictures and other party pictures, wild but legal. Yet it did not stop the media from ripping the Heisman winner. Other stars like Giants’ third basemen Pablo Sandoval were also accused of doing things he did not and many other players became the victims of the paparazzi.

As a journalist and a sports fan, I am appalled that we demonize some players for minor incidents, or at times completely innocent gestures. I understand that stars are subject to a microscope, but literally everything they do should not be scrutinized, and libel should not be spread as it damages a reputation and has a deep impact on lives. It is time to shut up about every little detail in a sports figure’s life and let them play.

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