Does the Media Glorify Athletes to see them Fail?

Credited to Keith Allison@Flickr
Credited to Keith Allison@Flickr
Credited to Keith Allison@Flickr


Legend is a word so often talked about as one of the most overused to describe an athlete. It is believed in the sporting world that this term is used too much towards elite level players that do not deserve this type of plaudit. But has anyone stopped to think, is this done on purpose by the media?

When you look at the history of sports, media has a massive influence in opinions of the public with regards to individual players, teams and particular games. At the start of a young player’s career, they are described as the prodigy, the saviour and the next great player. These terminologies are deliberately inserted by the media in order for the public to construct an idea of what type of character the player is.

Obviously, due to media intervention, they are portrayed as the consummate athlete. They are seen as the young, fit man or woman with the lavish lifestyle and the happy family. This is essentially the glorification of the player, to put them above anyone else in the world and keep them in the public eye. Elite level athletes are seen closer to demi gods rather than humans from the amount of media attention given.

There is solid reasoning behind this. If the media glorify a player, and then the player in turn slips up, either morally or ethically, it is front page news. They have been talked up for years and as the media well knows the fall of a high profile individual would be top news in the modern day.

There are a flurry of examples, the John Terry affair, Wayne Rooney and his prostitution allegations, Teirrey Henry and the handball in the play-offs against Ireland and of course the Tiger Woods sex addiction saga. All these stories not only proved to be front and back page news for weeks on end but also caused these players to loose sponsorship deals and endorsements. Both Henry and Woods were dropped by Gillette once the word had got out of their actions.

Credited to Thomas Lieser@Flickr
Credited to Thomas Lieser@Flickr

There are even smaller cases that have been seen worthy as front page news. England football international Jack Wilshere was spotted outside a London nightclub smoking a cigarette and the next day a photo was leaked to the press. In early October this was considered to be important news in the world of sports as Wilshere has been seen for so long as the saviour of the English midfield.

The glorification of these players sets them up to fail and it is an entirely conscious decision in my opinion. The media world wants radical news, they want to see someone fall from the pedestal they have been put onto in order to simply have good content for stories.

The personal lives of players are something that has really only come into the public interest in the last ten years. The only exception previous to that in Europe would be the life of George Best, who thrived in the spotlight. The question is when does it stop becoming public interest, and start becoming an invasion of privacy?

Do you think that the media are to involved in Athletes and their personal lives?

Please Comment Below.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting piece, sounds like the media like to create their own news stories. Could well be true outside the sporting world too.

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