Coop’s Corner: A new era of sports journalism

Marshawn Lynch avoids media during Super Bowl week.Lynch has been fined numerous times for refusing to talk to the media. (MCT Campus)

I really don’t care for what the label “sports media” has become.

I believe, while they may be entertaining some of the time, programs such as SportsCenter, FirstTake and many others on ESPN and its wide array of channels infiltrating your T.V. have lost meaning of what it means to be a sports journalist.

While I am aware that being a journalist comes with the responsibility of reporting all things associated with your beat or area of profession, the sports media world has gone too far.

What was the nation talking about in the week prior to the Super Bowl?

“I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was a topic for almost all talk shows and radio stations. Journalists started putting the man under fire the whole week, labeling him as a bad example and berating him in columns across America.

Journalists put people like Seahawks corner back Richard Sherman, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant and many other athletes under a microscope, but what about the suits of the businesses these players represent?

The Roger Goodells of the world, why doesn’t he have to talk?

See, I originally set out for this column to be about the hype that led up to the Super Bowl and how it should have been about the Xs and Os of the game, instead the media placed the importance of that week upon a player not cooperating with them.

I wanted to know what types of plays the Patriots were going to use if they came across a certain set or what adjustments they’d make if they read a safety blitz.

I wanted to know the ins and outs of what makes this Seahawk defense so good.

All I got was jargon, jargon aimed at the athlete. Journalists all around the world screamed freedom of speech when Charlie Hebdo was attacked.

May I inform you that Charlie Hebdo is a satirical publication that aims to humiliate and disgrace many different religions, especially religions that have a huge person of color following.

Marshawn Lynch carries a football and runs over defenders for a living, but no one came to his aid. These athletes are out here to do a job, a job that is put to the wayside so pens and pencils can focus on things that really matter to them, the drama off the field.

But when an athlete doesn’t want to talk, do journalists come together and cry freedom of speech?

No, there is no cry for freedom of speech because it doesn’t benefit them. It doesn’t benefit the mainstream media so of course they aren’t going to rally around the athlete.

Instead the media will twist their hairs and go deep into the thesaurus to make an athlete seem uneducated and a villain.

I understand some sports journalists are just trying to do their job and ask those analytical questions. I also understand that these journalists hate being told “No” to and will do whatever they can to slander and demean the name and brand of the person that did so.

I’ve been told “No” from numerous athletes and have always been completely ok with it. It’s their decision if they want to talk to me or not, it’s their right to do what they please.

They stampede to their locker at the end of a game with a dozen microphones, sticking them in their face. That’s not something you do to a human.

It’s been a terrible year already for sports journalism, but if we the media stop treating athletes as quote robots, we can gain some respect back.

We need to get back to having conversations with the athlete, relevant conversations pertaining to the sport, not off-the-field drama.

I believe there’s a mutual respect between the athlete and the media. I also believe that upcoming athletes are more wary of the media because they’re afraid their quotes will be taken out of context.

It’s ugly. It’s all very ugly.

It’s ugly that an athlete, who has the most important game of his life to prepare for, is forced to sit in a chair in front of thousands of journalists and talk, even when it’s apparent he has no interest in doing so.

It’s ugly that an NFL commissioner, who had possibly the worst season in all of sports, isn’t forced to say a word about it during his sport’s biggest week.

Did everyone forget about the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson problems or did they just vanish because the athletes stepped away from the sport for a year?

Whatever the case is, the media will still criticize and keep these athletes under the long scope of the pen while letting “leaders” of these businesses slide free.

Sports journalism no longer is about the analytical side of the game, it’s no longer about the strategy of the upcoming match or the mid-game adjustment that won it.

Sports journalism is becoming a mockery and the laughing stock of the sports industry.
ESPN and other major sports networks are now comparable to TMZ and E!

We need to change that.