Sports and sports media are not what they used to be. Or is it that sports and sports media are no longer what we once fantasized them to be? The days of a sportscaster simply regurgitating stats and scores are already a thing of the past. The idea of gladiators in an arena fighting to the death never existed in our lifetime. At least, I don’t think they did.
Just in the last ten years alone, the athletes themselves have also gone through a metamorphosis in ways unlike what any of us could have ever imagined. Not only in how they train and the physical specimens they turn into (sometimes chemically enhanced), but also in how interactively accessible they have become to their adoring public and haters alike.
The days of little kids with posters on their walls of their favorite players in various superhero poses are long gone. Is the term “posterized” even current anymore? Is it still a thing? We think the athletes have become soft; that they care more about their livelihood, brand, and reputation off the field than their performance on the field.
Sadly, it’s become obvious more than ever the extremely difficult transition many professional athletes are having when their playing days are over. There’s no support system of any kind provided by any league to help players transition into life after playing. Many go broke within just a few years, spiral into depression, or worse. Unless they go into broadcasting or coaching, the level of helplessness they feel is insurmountable and the consequences can be so tragic.
We have become so aware of all of these things. So my questions are as follows: How did that happen? Why did that happen? Whom do we blame for that? Or thank? Is it social media? Is it the Internet as a whole? Is it concussions? How about the sports journalists who cover the careers of these athletes and the teams they play for? What’s their role in all this?
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