When it comes to athletes and the media many people see the relationship as beneficial while some are more reluctant to give is such a positive spin. There’s no arguing that interviews, specials and even broadcasted games help athletes get their name out. However, sometimes it isn’t in a positive light.
In an article written by Nathaniel Vinton, New York Daily News, Vinton talks about different athletes and their legal run-ins with the media. From Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants defensive end, to Lance Armstrong athletes have sued the media for all sorts of things. In Pierre-Paul’s case, he sued Adam Schefter and ESPN for violating his privacy by posting medical records relating to his mangled right hand. Schefter had posted a photo on Twitter of Pierre-Paul’s medical charts stating that Pierre-Paul was facing amputation. As a public sports figure, someone who gets paid millions of dollars because of his physical abilities, do you really have that much privacy? We live in a world where very few things are actually private. Posts, photos, thoughts and memories can all be shared with millions of people by the simple click of a button. Did Adam Schefter really break privacy or did he simply do his job and inform the public that Pierre-Paul’s physical ability may have changed? Fortunately for Adam Schefter and ESPN, our founding fathers thought of the First Amendment. Schefter and many other media outlets that have been sued are protected by the freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Learning to deal with the media is part of an athlete’s job description argues David Lennon in an article he wrote for Newsday. Many athletes have learned to embrace reporters and use interviews to help their brand. However, some athletes have a hard time understanding why speaking to reporters is mandatory. Two of the most outspoken about this are Marshawn Lynch and Kevin Durant. Lynch is famous for his “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” line. While Durant took a very honest approach and explained to reports during the NBA All-Star Game that “y’all not my friends. You’re going to write what you want to write”. It is a fine line for athletes when it comes to the difference between good and bad press. Lynch has gotten a lot of backlash because of his refusal to answer questions but at the same time, he and Durant are simply being honest. That is something we should encourage. There is less animosity between the media and Major League Baseball. As a sport, baseball has the most media accessibility and the players seem to enjoy it. Many professional baseball teams are taking the time to hold media education sessions for their players before spring training. This helps prevent embarrassment as well as teach the players to embrace the media instead of resisting against it.
Athletes aren’t going anywhere and neither is the media. The two million dollar businesses are going to be working alongside each other for a long while. With social media becoming more popular athletes are starting to make their own news instead of relying on traditional news outlets to break the story. The relationship is going to be constantly changing as new technology and platforms gain popularity. But there are always going to be people who turn on ESPN or FOX Sports after the game to watch their favorite athletes get interviewed. That is not going aways anytime soon and athletes need to accept that.
Featured image: photo credit to WEBN-TV (https://www.flickr.com/photos/politicalpulse/)