English 1020, 81327
2 October 2010
Mass Media and Sports:
Riches to Rags, Rags to Riches
What parent would want their kid to say, “I want to grow up to be just like Ray Lewis. I want to play as hard as him, win Super Bowls like him, and even be indicted on murder charges like him!” No parent would, but it’s not at all wrong for a juvenile to say they want to play like the 10 time NFL pro bowler and two time NFL defensive player of the year. At the same time, it’s not wrong for the mass media in sports to be reporting news about professional athletes having legal issues. Charles Barkley, former 11 time NBA All Star and MVP of the 1992-93 NBA season, argued, “I don’t believe professional athletes should be role models. I believe parents should be role models….Parents have to take better control.” (qtd. Barkley). Barkley feels the media is demanding professional athletes to be looked upon as role models to kids because the media is covetous of what these athletes do for a living. He also feels the media is trying to make the whole essence of being a black professional athlete cohesive because all they’re doing is playing a game and making millions of dollars (Barkley). On that same note, a number of professional athletes can be represented as great “role models” by our own definition in both aspects of their playing ability and personal life, regardless of their race. Some professional athletes live by good morals because they feel they need to give back to the communities in a way since they realize they’re so fortunate to be able to play sports for a living, while others do feel it’s necessary to set good examples for kids to look up to(Are Athletes Obligated 1). Essentially, the media’s job is to observe, analyze and report. The media simply broadcasts news for their consumers. What these consumers are seeing, regardless of age, is entertainment news when it comes to sports in media. A professional sport is an entertainment business and most of this news makes a lasting impression on kids. According to a National Survey of Kids between the ages of 10 and 17, professional athletes rank 2nd among most admirable people in their lives at 73% (Kaiser Family Foundation). The media is not what tears down or builds up a professional athlete if they have a subsequent downfall or rise from their own actions. Professional athletes make their own decisions and under certain circumstances I believe that parents or guardians really need to take better control of influencing their kids what is being shown by the media about professional athletes. Exposure of sports is a major facet of today’s society and there are as many legal troubled professional athletes as there are morally righteous. Professional athletes need to realize that everyone that follows this entertainment business is watching. The media can show that professional athletes regardless of race can be great role models and influences kids while at the same time show bad examples, but they’re not going to accentuate that information because that’s not their job and that’s where parents and guardians should take better control.
Today’s cultivation isn’t so much of kids idolizing religious figures, but rather emulating and admiring professional sport figures that they are being exposed to through the media. The most important thing about a professional athlete and how he/she were able to become a professional athlete is ultimately their story. The media in sports job is simply reporting all types of sporting stories and sporting news to entertain their consumers about what is happening in the world of sports today. Sports in American society is rapidly becoming one of the stronger entertainment businesses today. In Barkley’s Ebony article he writes that, “Our kids don't understand that media are not going to highlight on television the great role models in sports,” which is true because the media isn’t there to tell you the contrasting points of a good role model and a...
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