Sports have long provided an escape from the problems of the real world. During the worst of times, we could always look to sports to provide us a few hours of entertainment and distract us from a harsh reality.
Now more than ever, during probably one of the worst presidential elections of all time, the public needs an escape.
Today, however, sports have become the subject of much scrutiny.
Cases of domestic violence seem to pop up weekly. National Anthem protests began to spread countrywide. Team logos are coming under fire as racist and insensitive.
No sport is safe from these scandals. It seems as though the nation’s athletes are taking on a persona that matches the current tension-filled climate plaguing the entire globe.
The question is why have sports become just another part of the real world? What has changed that gave sports the same problems occurring in the real world?
The answer is nothing. The sports themselves have not changed and neither have the athletes. It is the coverage of these athletes that have changed.
People sometimes forget that athletes are real people too, outside of their freakish talent in their specific area. But as real people, they make mistakes just like the rest of the world. However, because they are famous, these mistakes are blown up and broadcast to the entire nation.
Take the example of Greg Hardy. During the time of his domestic abuse incident, Hardy was all over the national news. Everyone had heard about the Hardy story, and for that period of time it painted the NFL in a very poor light for allowing him to continue playing.
But what if Greg Hardy was just your average guy? What if he wasn’t an athlete being put on the national stage every weekend? Would people know about what he did?
Hardy would have been a quick 10-15 minute story on the local news channel wherever he lived and would never have been spoken about again.
Domestic abuse, in particular, is a big issue in sports today. However, it is also a big issue in the real world. We only hear about the majority of domestic abuse from famous people, because that is who the general public cares about.
Back in the early days of sport, the media did not cover the athletes’ private lives. What they did on the field was who they were and we admired them for that and only that. It is when we started to go behind the curtain that sports began to intertwine with society and start to show that it wasn’t as perfect as it was portrayed to be.
Sports are mixed up with today’s real world problems because they have real world problems. They are real people just like you and I.
Has the way the media has evolved in their coverage of sports brought to light a lot of private life issues?
Of course, but does that mean they should go back to only covering the on-field happenings?
I don’t think so. All I know is that there is reasoning behind the saying “you should never meet your heroes.”