T.O. Incident Exposes Tabloidization of Sports
If you saw or heard anything of the coverage, starting with a blip on ESPN News late last night, continuing with WFAA's special report this morning and wrapping up with the 10 O'Clock news, it's enough to make you sick.
Is T.O. being rushed to the hospital newsworthy? Yes! But not at the level of continuous coverage as if the Columbia space shuttle broke apart or Buckwheat was assasinated outside the SNL studios. Tell us he was rushed to to ER. Tell us he treated by Dr. John Carter. Tell us whether or not he will play Sunday or if recovery will take awhile as he deals with some personal demons. But don't waste my day with speculation about whether he did or did not attempt suicide.
Let's face it. If he did, he needs some space to figure things out. He doesn't need news crews outside his house being defended by by shutdown corner Deion "Primetime" Sanders.
But this is what sports news coverage is becoming. A sports papparrazzi is slowly forming to tell us our favorite athletes' every move. What's he eat? Who's he dating? Who's getting his child support checks?
This first hit me a few weeks ago when I encountered the reports on espn.com and some other reputable outlets regarding the USC co-ed pregnant with Matt Leinhart's baby. Who cares? Can he throw a spiral in the face of an NFL rush? That's all I need to know.
Now, I did discover some good in all this. I can't say it exhibits non-tabloid sports coverage, but it shows us the human side of T.O. And this is important.
It's like the movie Crash that really challenges your hate by putting a human face on it. A guy gets a reputation and is constantly dissected. Constantly judged. Perhaps we'd ease up if we remember he's human. He's flesh and blood like the rest of us.
Perhaps remembering this would make us better people. Better fans.