News Or Voyeruism?

Over the past couple of weeks, Aaron Rodgers has been very properly in the news spotlight for doing excellently what professional quarterbacks are paid to do.  In a recent rant, I called his performance last Sunday against the Cowboys “other-worldly”; he has been playing at an extraordinary level for more than a month now.  When that happens, he becomes a focal point for the media.

By the way, if Aaron Rodgers were to stink out the joint this weekend against the Falcons – say something like complete 35% of his passes and throw 5 INTs – that too would put him in the media spotlight simply because it is out of the norm for a player of his accomplishments.  My point here is that he belongs in the news for what he does that is newsworthy and what Aaron Rodgers does that is newsworthy is to play quarterback in the NFL.

For reasons that I do not understand, some folks have decided that the fact that Aaron Rodgers and his family are estranged is something the public needs to know.  The NY Times no less had a reporter contact Rodgers’ father and brother regarding the family issue(s).  Frankly, there is no real “investigative” information here; it is merely an updating on the status quo.

So, that leads me to wonder why this is worthy of newsprint and ink.  I wonder because this situation – reportedly having been going on for at least a year and a half and possibly longer – has not affected materially the one thing that causes you and I to pay attention to Aaron Rodgers in the first place.  From reading the various reports of this family rift, I have learned that Aaron Rodgers’ father is a chiropractor; I had not known that before; I do not feel super-enlightened now that I do know that.  If you did not know that fact prior to reading the previous sentence, that demonstrates that you did not care enough about the Rodgers’ family dynamic to know anything about any of the players other than the one who is a star quarterback.

The only reason anyone gives a fig about this matter is because Aaron Rodgers is famous for what he does.  If he were fourth on the depth chart as a quarterback playing in some semi-pro football league in Beaglebreath, SD, no one would care if he and his family were estranged or as tight as a drum.  Call that NY Times report – and all of the other reporting on this matter – what it really is:




Once you realize/admit that is what all of this is about, ask yourself as a consumer of the “news” if achieving the status of “Voyeur” is a positive thing in your life… had a recent report about an upcoming TV show that falls into the “reality TV” category and therefore might be classified as “news” at some point.  The program will air on CNBC – a network devoted to financial matters most of the time – and it has a working title of Back in the Game.  Here is how it is going to work:

  • The “host” will be Alex Rodriguez.  Yes, that Alex Rodriguez…
  • A-Rod will find retired athletes who are in serious financial trouble and he will then set them up with “money-savvy mentors who can help them get back on their feet.”

Even though I have not seen the pilot episode for this program – and there are no circumstances that might convince me this should be on my power rotation of things to watch regularly – this is another example of the media pandering to public voyeurism.  I can be empathetic toward a former athlete who is now down on his luck but do I need to know what happened to him to get him into the situation and/or what the “money-savvy mentors” recommend he do with the rest of his life to change that situation?  To call a program of this type “obscene” is a stretch, but to call it “cringe-worthy” seems to be on the mark.

A recent comment by Brad Rock in his column Rock On in the Deseret News demonstrates how the kind of programming suggested by Back in the Game can get smarmy:

“A financial advisor has been accused of bilking millions from former NFL player Ricky Williams and ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman.

“That’s sad, but does anyone believe either of these guys couldn’t lose millions all by himself?”

Let me add one last charge to the indictment of media pandering to public voyeurism.  Last week, reported that Johnny Manziel will be at this year’s Super Bowl festivities for the purpose of selling his autograph (for $99 a pop) and for allowing fans to take a selfie with him (for $50 a pop).  Those monumental revelations of course allowed for a quick retrospective of Manziel’s career arc that went from “Heisman Johnny Football“ to “Who Cares Johnny Manziel” in the matter of a couple of years.  Oh, and the report also contains  the obligatory picture of Manziel looking “half-in-the-bag” posed with a young woman somewhere.

Let me urge you to ignore these sorts of reports – and particularly that impending program on CNBC.  Following sports allows you to observe what athletes and coaches do in their chosen fields but does not force you to become a Peeping Tom into their personal lives to appreciate what they do.  Maybe one needs a voyeuristic streak to devote oneself to keeping up with the Kardashians; not so for sports fans.

Finally, to end on a lighter note today, here is a comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha-World-Herald that will allow you to flash back in your memory to Rosie Ruiz.  I’ll bet you have not done that too often recently:

“A dense fog delayed the start of the Nebraska Marathon because of almost zero visibility. This was a dream come true for anyone who’s ever wanted to run the first three yards of a marathon and then cut to the 25-mile mark.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



4 thoughts on “News Or Voyeruism?”

  1. Couldn’t agree with you more on the voyeurism Curmudge — I’ve often had that thought myself. As to the people who follow the Kardashians or any other “celebrity’s” every move, I’ve always believed that their own lives must be bereft of any real meaning.

    1. Bones:

      I cannot tell you how uninterested I am in all of “Reality TV” and mock competition shows such as Dancing With The Stars or Iron Chef.

  2. The funny thing is that Aaron Rodgers is well respected in the community, and almost every family has someone with “issues”. Remember “Billy Beer”?

    Off topic but something tied to the Packers: they are and will be the last NFL team under non-profit corporate ownership per the 1960 bylaws, Article V, Section 4(b). Now, one of the ways that teams in trouble clear their debts is to have the city buy them, but this does not appear to be an option in the NFL.

    “(b) Charitable organizations and/or corporations not organized for profit and not now a member of the league may not hold membership in the National Football League.”

    1. rugger9:

      There are ownerships in the NFL that do not perform very well; that is for sure. Nonetheless, the thought that a city or a charitable organization run by a committee might try to take a struggling club and make it work is a frightening thought indeed. The reason it works in Green Bay is that the fans own the team but have no say in running it from a football perspective.

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