Opinion

Has Social Media Opened Our Eyes to an Uglier side of the Spectrum

What Ever Happened to the Good Ol’ Days of Sports Without Scandal

By Anthony Ferrara

How far are we willing to go as a society, constantly digging into these player’s personal lives? The majority of professional athletes lives are now magnified to the point of no return. They have acquired the same ridiculous form of celebrity that Justin Bieber and Britney Spears are known for.

Now, do most of these star athletes have a sense for what they are signing up for in the first place? Absolutely. These men and women need to realize that they are role models for many people. They should be going the extra mile to set a better example for our youth, and just to set a better example in general. In no way should any of these scandals be condoned.

They should, however, be dealt with behind closed doors, as far away from the public eye as possible. Yes, it is getting harder and harder to do that because of all the access that we have to our favorite athletes nowadays. Here’s the thing that irks me though. Our society begs for all of this information, and then acts surprised when it is revealed that these athletes are far from perfect off the field.

Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are human beings just like the rest of us. They have made mistakes and will continue to do so, just like the rest of us. So why is it that they have to answer to some kind of god-like standard that the rest of us don’t have to necessarily answer to?

I’m relating that statement to the fact that their personal lives are being broadcast for the entire world to see. And I’m not just talking about the released videos and photos. I’m talking about the persistent public defamation of character that is being forced onto these men and their loved ones. Everybody deserves their right to privacy–and if you can’t agree with that, then at least think about their families. Why should they also have to deal with this backlash?

There is no consistency in our uproar. Does anybody remember a man named Michael Vick? In 2007 he was sworn out of the NFL then vilified for his role in a dog fighting scandal. The only news about him on SportsCenter was created to sway public opinion against him, and that’s exactly what happened.

He was threatened and spoken out against by the majority of the public, the same public that loved him before that scandal, and the same public that, seven years later, loves him again. After all, time has passed.

We cared about dogs back then. I guess we don’t anymore. We’re too entrenched in the latest scandal and its details to be a part of causes that deserve our attention.

This is perhaps the most agitating part of the new age approach to sports news (or any kind of news for that matter). It all seems to be based off overreaction to the latest negative story that’s being presented to us.

Did anybody else notice that Twitter and ESPN seemed to completely forget about Ray Rice hitting his wife after stories surfaced that Adrian Peterson was abusing one of his children? Are we just puppets for the mass media, allowing whatever story it decides is relevant to sway our opinions and influence our stance on certain topics?

By the time this article is read, I’m confident that we’ll have already forgotten about Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. Instead, we’ll be mindlessly talking about the next trending topic or scandal that will be shoved down our throats.

There needs to be a more reliable voice to go along with what we are constantly reacting to. Do we really care about all of these scandals that cause us to trash somebody’s name or are we just quick to jump on whatever bandwagon the television or internet tells us to jump on? We are so quick to overreact, but even quicker to forget–and that needs to change.

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