I am in search of a label this morning and one is not coming to me. I hesitate to refer to “mainstream sports media” because of the current negative connotation of “mainstream” when it comes to “media”. At the same time, I do not want to trivialize by using the label “everyday sports media”. So, let me settle for an admittedly imperfect label, “Widely Available Sports Media”, or The WASM – – rhymes with possum.
I really wish that The WASM would forego inflating stories beyond their worth. There are plenty of stories to tell regarding sports and the role that sports – and athletes – play in society without taking a mouse turd and turning it into a mountain range. That sort of “artificial inflation” was totally unnecessary when The WASM exposed Dr. Larry Nasser for what he is or when they reported on the raucous city-wide celebrations in the aftermath of the Eagles winning the Super Bowl last February. There are tons of other examples I could cite where the stories told by The WASM had meat on the bones, not air in a balloon. There are three “inflated stories” making the rounds about now and none of them matter.
The first story involves the “ambush-like” interview question tossed at Tiger Woods after he finished his final round at last week’s PGA tournament. Someone wanted to know what Woods thought of President Trump. Notwithstanding the fact that it is none of anyone’s business what anyone else’s political views are unless those political views are openly stated by the party of the first part, there were follow-up questions after Woods politely – and artfully – deflected the original question.
The media in general like to say when they break a story that is unflattering to the subject of the story that “the public has a right to know” whatever was in the story that was unflattering. More often than not, the media is correct in that assertion. In this case, they would be horribly wrong.
- Tiger Woods is free to express his political views on any topic or any person in the political cosmos at any time and in any form that he so chooses.
- Tiger Woods is ALSO free to keep those opinions to himself; and since he is not an elected official, he is entitled to the same right of privacy that is accorded to the reporters who asked those questions.
That is the generic complaint that I have with the story as it has been blown out of proportion but there are specifics that make it worse. Two of the follow-up questions dealt with Woods’ thoughts on people – “especially people of color, immigrants” – being threatened by President Trump’s policies and another asked him about the state of race relations in the US today. While there is nothing wrong with either question per se it is incredibly presumptuous of the questioner to seek an answer from a golfer who just finished a tournament. And, may I point out, that the questioner engaged in just a tad of racial profiling by posing the question to the “Cablinasian golfer” and none of the other golfers who participated in the tournament.
The events leading to this story should never have happened. Once they did happen, they should not have been given time and attention. If The WASM has nothing better to report, then maybe shrinking sports sections in newspapers and cutbacks in TV network staffs are appropriate.The second inflated story has to do with the officials at the French Open deciding that Serena Williams will not be able to wear her “cat suit” in the French Open next year; they have changed their dress code.
In this case, The WASM has not only made a mouse turd into a mountain range, they have sought to pole vault over that mouse turd. Why is this a non-story?
- First of all, it applies to every player in the French Open next year not just to Serena Williams.
- Serena Williams says she is fine with the new rule. She wore the suit designed to protect her from blood clots that she experienced after her pregnancy and she says she no longer needs the suit. She also said that she was confident that if she needed the suit again in the future, the French Open folks would consider a medical exemption.
- Wimbledon has a dress code that would preclude Williams’ cat suit too.
- The Australian Open has a dress code that would preclude Williams’ cat suit too.
The third inflated story is about NBC Sports using something they call “The Green Zone” for the Sunday Night Football telecasts. If you have not seen “The Green Zone” yet, here is the deal:
- On third downs, NBC will visually emphasize the line to gain for a first down by making the grass between the line of scrimmage and the line to gain a darker/more vivid shade of green.
- That’s it folks; that is what the whole “discussion” is about…
I happen to believe that this is totally unnecessary since we have now – and have had for at least a decade – the infamous “yellow line” that unofficially marks the line to gain for a first down. Simultaneously, I also believe that adding The Green Zone to the area of the field that leads up to the infamous yellow line is abjectly harmless.
- It is neither an addition to the telecast nor is it a negative to the broadcast.
- Being neither positive nor negative, it is a ZERO – a smidgen of mathematical deduction this morning.
- The discussion/argument here is over ZERO which is NOTHING.
Once again, The WASM needs to find//uncover things that are more relevant that NOTHING to report on/create controversy over.
OK, I’ll go and up the dosage on my meds now…
Finally, let me close with a comment from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald. It sounds as if he and I agree on the story about Serena Williams’ cat suit:
“The French Open instituted a new dress code pretty much specifically designed to prevent Serena Williams from again wearing her skin-tight “cat suit.” Some saw it as an affront to women’s rights. Um, let’s save our outrage for causes that are actually important, shall we?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………