The Changing Face of Sports Coverage
We've come a long way, baby. Eight decades later, Alex Rodriguez spends an evening with a buxom blond, and it's front-page news. A high school pole vaulter has her picture splashed on the internet, and it's front page news. Tom Brady wears a Yankees hat, and it's front page news. A Chicago Bear makes a profane rap song, and it's front page news. Sports coverage has gone tabloid, and there are no signs that it will ever go back.
When did all this start? Maybe it was when Ball Four took fans inside the Yankees' locker room. Maybe it was when O.J. Simpson went from running back to murder defendant. Maybe it was when Sports Illustrated put Anna Kournikova on its cover.
Or maybe it was a gradual process, the same gradual process that we've seen in coverage of politicians and celebrities. Bill Clinton wasn't the first president to cheat on his wife, Alec Baldwin wasn't the first actor to berate his daughter and Britney Spears wasn't the first singer to drive without properly securing her children in a car seat. But our culture has changed, and the media have reflected that culture.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. Photographers who follow Alex Rodriguez around all night might not be the world's best photojournalists, but I'll take the paparazzi over the reporters who ignored Babe Ruth's peccadilloes any day of the week. Fans spend many hours and many dollars on sports, and they deserve to get the whole picture of the athletes they follow, even if the picture isn't always the one the athletes want us to see.