Sunday, June 24, 2012

Let's Make A Change

because saying eighty-seven years just isn't as fun
A decade ago, sports news did not require us to have a Ph. D, a J.D., a Masters, or a field-experts' summarization to comprehend some of the diction media outlets use in reporting as often as we do now (or maybe just the need to search a term on Google).

A fascination developed within sports reporting sometime in the last 10-15 years that induced a movement towards the desire to be as precise and as well informed as one possibly could. A trend towards exactness, towards the use of technical, legal, scientific, and medical terminology ensued (this is why Eli Manning had a Lisfranc injury, not a “fracture in his foot”…and why Peyton Manning “underwent a neck-fusion procedure”, instead of simply “had surgery on his neck”)

Most of the explanation for this trend is a testament to the knowledge and intellect that today’s fans and sport industry professionals possess, which is wonderful (I appreciate and applaud you my fellow nerds!). People have become ever more educated in regards to sport (not just the product on the field), thus we wish to hear the exact details and specific terminology. We’ve all become more cognizant of the complexities of sport and all its different facets. It’s quite pleasing actually (well done us!), and this growth of understanding should only continue. Sports became more than simple entertainment, it is big business. Meaning (to me at least), it has become more interesting to follow in many more ways (this is why we could write here at I-95 SportsBiz for days upon days about sports and not once report scores, play-by-play, injury reports, division standings, etc).

On the other hand, some of the reason for this trend is due to negligent and inappropriate decision-making of the young-to-middle-to-senior-aged adults that staff our professional sports leagues. In these instances, we’ve all developed some level of acquaintance with legalese because we are forced to, because to many athletes seem to be incapable of staying out trouble, because sport has developed into big business that requires negotiations and contracts (the shorthand symbol for contract is “K”…just so we stay familiar with the legalese, of course). Now, we’re all guilty of mistakes, I know…in some cases, I stupidly know. And negotiations and contracts are exactly that…that’s just big business. But the positive trend towards a better understanding and knowledge of sport is simply not mirrored by the trend towards exercising better judgment.

Every year, every season, there are more cases of violations, failed tests, suspensions, arrests, fines, you name it…all occurring repeatedly as if we’ve learned nothing from such mistakes. Stories of DUI’s, drug charges, bar fights, assaults, lawsuits, all flood the sports news sections of every media platform. This type of garbage explodes on the likes of Twitter and overshadows other sports stories on blogs, in newspapers, on SportsCenter… Such instances ruin sports and occur all to often. These type of actions diminish the faith people have in sports and undermine the integrity of sports increasingly more with each occurrence. It’s a damn shame and I hate it.

Is it too much to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions? Does it not make sense to hold ourselves accountable for doing our best to make the right choices? When we can rid the leagues of such problems in this manner, then we truly fix the issues. Because, if there’s a necessity for tactics like a “safe-ride program”, even though this might help, it will still make sports feel like a little bit of a joke. I mean, are we really a group of individuals that need to have a sober driver at our beckoning call free-of-charge so that we can make the choice to not operate a vehicle while intoxicated? Come on…No, we’re not. We can do that on our own.

So let’s make some changes to halt the surge of ridiculousness in today’s sports. Let’s make sure that we’re knowledgeable in the studies and terminology of business, marketing, law, mathematics, science and medicine as they pertain to sports because we have a desire to understand its complexities and uniqueness...not because we are trying to following along with the latest scandal.

Sports offer many benefits that range from teaching our youth to opportunities for a free education to providing fertile grounds for medical advances. I’d like to see such things continue, the majority of us do, but a small number can drag sports down.

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