Through a variety of platforms including television, websites, and social media, the sports media has flourished in recent years, providing more information, analysis, and feature stories than ever before. However, with this expansion have arisen issues which I believe are damaging the quality of the industry. These problems will be explained in Gripes with Sports Media, the sister series to Gripes with Sports Fans.
Everyone has that friend (or several friends) that decide to post their entire lives on social media. At times, it seems like these people take up your entire feed, updating accounts practically faster than you can even refresh your page. Whether intentional or not, sports news tends to let certain individuals get way more attention than they deserve, stealing away the spotlight from deserving parties. We can break down these attention-stealers into two categories: fluff news, and highlight stealers.
In sports, fluff stories are news related to sports that are of little to no actual importance. Yet, for some reason, major sports companies often draw heavy attention to these stories instead of discussing more relevant things. Here are a few recent examples of this.
Probably at least five times during the NBA Playoffs this year, I saw stories about rapper Lil B and “The BasedGod Curse” on Kevin Durant. A rapper lays a curse on a basketball player, saying he won’t win a championship. So what? I hereby curse Cam Newton. He’ll never win a Super Bowl. Should I get tons of articles written about my curse? No, and neither should The BasedGod.
Similarly, the sports world does not need to hear about Ayesha Curry’s tweets. Yes, she’s married to 2-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, which makes her related to the sports world. However, when thousands of people are likely tweeting about how they feel the NBA Finals are rigged, is her tweet any more important than someone else’s?
Lastly, let’s talk about Johnny Manziel. The former Heisman Trophy winner just can’t seem to go away. However, he’s not in the league anymore. I don’t care if he posts someone’s phone number on his Instagram, or if one of his lawyers says something out of line. If there are new allegations surrounding a crime may have committed, or any possible sentencing, that would be news-worthy. However, hearing about every little misstep in his life just isn’t.
I understand that there can be slow news days, but those are the times for real feature stories, where we can actually learn more about athletes’ personal lives and some of the work they do to help out their local communities. Additionally, these stories take the focus off important sporting events, such as the recent Stanley Cup Playoffs which I feel was once again largely forgotten about. It is the job of the sports media to inform the world with interesting stories and insightful analysis, and sometimes the media fails to do this.
The other type of attention-stealer I mentioned earlier is the highlight-stealer. This is essentially when in recaps of sporting events, star players are focused on an overwhelmingly large portion of time compared to everyone else. An obvious example of this, and one that I’ve written about a few times is Tiger Woods. If Tiger Woods isn’t in the event, why are we talking about him? If Tiger Woods is going to miss the cut, why are we talking about him? When Tiger Woods is in the mix, that’s when he should get the highlights; not when he’s four-putting.
If Stephen Curry scores 45 points or has a triple-double, feel free to make the game recap a highlight reel of him. However, in a game where he struggles, shooting 3 of 14 from three, let’s focus on the big plays made by the rest of the team, instead of just showing the three triples that went down. Similarly, let’s not applaud Ronaldo for leading his team to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals when it was Ricardo Quaresma who scored the game-winner.
As a whole, I think we need to focus more on giving the role players and glue guys the credit they deserve. Sure, every team has their big names, but the LeBron James teams in the late 2000s proved one guy can’t win a title by himself. He was the best in the world, but without a strong team behind him, he couldn’t bring a title to Cleveland. When a guy plays particularly well, give him the credit he deserves.
As for the teams themselves shown in highlight recaps, you would think that every basketball game is 100-0. In a game that finishes 104-98, I don’t want to see six plays of the team that won while neglecting their opponent. Let’s make it a little more even. NFL highlights usually do a great job of this.
Overall, as I stated in the beginning of the article, the sports media does a great job of growing the sports industry, and is greatly improving over time. Let’s just make sure we concentrate on keeping the spotlight on those who earn it.