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  • Greg Collier 3:32 pm on February 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Denver Broncos, , Peyton Manning, , scandal, sexual assault, Tom Brady, University of Tennessee, USA Today   

    Is Peyton Manning Benefitting from a news media’s double standard? 

    newsmediaIt’s tough to dislike Peyton Manning.

    In the NFL, Manning has been one of the types of players that make the league look good. On the field, he may be an aggressive and focused player but he’s also a good sport who rarely loses his cool. Off the field, he’s soft-spoken and mild-mannered, a poster child for the clean-cut All-American image that any sports team would happily put into the public spotlight and any sponsor would be comfortable with in a TV commercial.

    But now, as the Denver Broncos quarterback ponders retirement at the top of his professional game, an old story is surfacing about about a younger Peyton, a 20-year-old quarterback at the University of Tennessee who dropped his pants and pushed his genitals into the face of a female trainer who was examining his foot in a training room. He would later say that he was mooning another athlete — but the incident led to a settlement that kept the story quiet. After all, he was a star quarterback on the rise and his school or family didn’t want to see his image tarnished.

    In 2003, years before Twitter or Facebook would help stories spread across the Internet quickly, the incident surfaced again after Manning mentioned it in his and his father’s autobiography. USA Today picked up the details and published a story about it back then – but the story didn’t really gain any traction with any other news outlets.

    Now, just days after the Super Bowl, the incident came to light again when the New York Daily News published a story that declared that Manning’s “squeaky clean image was built on lies.” Granted, that’s a little sensationalistic – but you would think that, with a headline like that, the national sports media would dig into the story and bring it to light. You would think that people across Twitter and Facebook would be sharing this story and chiming in the way they did with Tom Brady’s Deflategate scandal or Ray Rice’s infamous elevator video.

    Instead, they’re talking about Donald Trump and leaving Peyton Manning alone.

    Sports commentator Stephen A. Smith recently chimed in to blame the news media for intentionally turning a blind eye on Peyton’s sexual scandal story. The media was all over Deflategate, as well as the Ray Rice video story. But national media has been slow to come out with their own versions of the story, even though the court documents that offer details of the incident are readily available.

    Personally, I’m torn about Peyton’s actions from 20 years ago, Part of me feels like the incident was an isolated one that involved poor judgement by a young athlete. Should we really be acting like judge and jury about an incident that occurred so long ago? Isn’t it better to move on and judge Peyton by the legacy he’s built during his NFL years?

    In some ways, it feels hypocritical to give Peyton Manning a free pass for something that happened years ago when we as a society are unforgiving of a man like Bill Cosby, who is facing serious allegations about sexual assaults that occurred many years ago. I realize that the allegations against Cosby were far more serious and were not limited to a single incident or person. But what’s the threshold for holding someone responsible for something that happened many years ago? Is it OK to give Peyton a pass when we’re not willing to do that for others?

    There’s no easy answer to this question but it feels like the news media is choosing to answer this question for us. By not reporting the story, by not digging deeper into the incident, by not putting Peyton on the hot seat to address it, the news media is telling the general public that this Peyton Manning scandal isn’t really that big of a deal.

    I’d rather see the news media invest some resources into this story – just as it would with other scandals – and let the public determine its worthiness. If the story resonates with the public, then maybe it’s worth digging in deeper. If the public doesn’t care or otherwise respond to the story, then news editors – who hold the power to determine what people know about and what they don’t – will have an answer to that question.

    Until the media does its job of reporting the news, the general public will never be able to make its own determination about whether Peyton’s squeaky clean image has been tarnished or whether an incident that occurred in the past should stay there.

     
    • sandrea Reynolds 8:50 pm on February 26, 2016 Permalink

      You know the media has to protect that squeaky clean image of that white boy spoiled degenerate.

  • Greg Collier 3:28 pm on June 4, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , FIFA, , futbol, , , , soccer, , Tom Brady   

    Today’s state of sports: Kids could teach the pros a thing or two 

    Over a recent weekend, I spoke with a friend who had spent the past couple of months coaching a little league team of 8-year-old boys. The kids had a good season, he said, emphasizing that “good” didn’t necessarily mean “winning.” Sure, they won their share of games, he said. But they lost a couple of heartbreakers, too.

    Still, he said, all of the kids had a good season. Some really improved their skills. Others picked up some confidence in their abilities. And at the end-of-the-season party, the kids talked about great catches and good hits instead of victories or losses. For these little kids, the game was still just that – a game. And winning wasn’t everything.

    The grown-ups today sure could learn a thing or two from these kids.

    A few weeks ago, just after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down his punishments on the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady for their roles in the “deflategate” scandal at the end of last season, I started to write a blog post about my disgust with the whole episode. But what could I say that I hadn’t said in an earlier blog post?

    But then came the next scandal – corruption at the highest levels of FIFA, the organization behind professional soccer. I’m not as much of a soccer fan as I am of the NFL but you had to admit, this scandal had all of the juicy elements of any good scandal – charges of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and fraud, the organization’s president suddenly resigning and confessions starting to emerge.

    I’m not naive enough to think that corruption – whether bribery or cheating – is new to the world of sports. And I certainly recognize that the outrage over FIFA’s bribes and Brady’s deflated footballs will eventually fade, especially when the next not-yet-known point-shaving scandal or juicing-gate something or other surfaces.

    Already, the New England Patriots have said that the team won’t fight Goodell’s punishment, choosing instead to “move on” and focus on the upcoming season – without admitting any guilt, of course. But, still, I found myself searching for the right words to express the betrayal and disgust I had been feeling about all of this.

    That’s when I read a quote from Andrew Jennings, the journalist and author who, for years, has been crying “foul” about corruption at FIFA and is largely being credited for sparking the downfall of the FIFA leadership. Shortly after the headlines broke, Jennings spoke to the Washington Post about the FIFA executives. He said:

    “I know that they are criminal scum, and I’ve known it for years. And that is a thoughtful summation. That is not an insult. That is not throwing about wild words. These scum have stolen the people’s sport. They’ve stolen it, the cynical thieving bastards.”

    Finally, someone spoke the words that I’ve struggled to find for months. These grown-ups are stealing our sports – and not just from us. They’re stealing the game from little kids,too. I can’t help but think of those 8-year-old little-leaguers and how they were perfectly content with winning some and losing some this past season.

    I know a lot of young athletes look to the pros as role models and aspire to be like them some day. But for once, I wish the tables were turned. I wish the grown-ups would take a look at some of these kids and behave more like them. It might bring some of the integrity back to the game.

     
  • Greg Collier 8:33 am on January 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: AFC Championship, Bill Belichick, Cheating, deflated, , , New England, , Patriots, , Tom Brady   

    Cheating in the NFL: Here’s One Simple, but Tough, Question for the New England Patriots 

    skirtingI have only one question for the person who deflated 11 of the 12 footballs for the New England Patriots when they played against the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC Championship earlier this month.

    Was it worth it?

    I mean, here we are, counting down the days until the Super Bowl, the biggest game of the year, and instead of listening to radio hosts and TV analysts talk about the strengths of a running game or weaknesses in the defense, I’m listening to questions about quarterback Tom Brady’s integrity and suggestions that Coach Bill Belichick be suspended from the Super Bowl.

    Was it worth all of this just to gain an advantage that the Patriots really didn’t need? After all, what were the chances that the Patriots were going to lose to the Colts – at home, in 50-degree (instead of 15-degree) weather? They were the better team going into that game – and everyone knew it. The fans knew it. The pundits knew it. Even the Las Vegas oddsmakers knew it. And you know what? The Patriots played like the better team. They played hard. The executed plays. They earned that win, fair and squ… er, wait. Well, maybe not fair and square.

    And therein lies the problem. I’ve read blog comments from those who say this is a silly debate, that the deflating of the balls didn’t even make a difference in the outcome of the game. But they’re missing the bigger point. Every game – whether football, baseball, Checkers or Tic-Tac-Toe – has a set of rules. That’s how the integrity of every game is maintained, knowing that even though there is always a winner and always a loser, no one side had an unfair advantage going into the matchup.

    When you try to skirt the rules, you’re labeled a cheater. And, as we’re rediscovering in the aftermath of this particular NFL game, no one likes a cheater.

    Sure, the NFL has promised a thorough investigation and the Patriots have offered their full cooperation – but does it really matter? Even if the truth never comes out, there will always be an asterisk next to that win and next to the Super Bowl score if the Patriots win it. Their wins are tainted because trust has been lost. When the Patriots take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, plenty of people tuned in to the biggest sporting event of the year will have an opinion on the integrity of the Patriots.

    It won’t be a very nice opinion, I suspect.

    Let’s face it. The New England Patriots have betrayed the trust of sports fans everywhere and now have to work extra hard to shake that perception of being a team of cheaters. Did you see how that works? The perception of being cheaters is how the court of public opinion works. The court of public opinion isn’t always fair and rarely does it wait for investigations to be completed before it issues its own ruling. That puts the NFL and the Patriots in the uncomfortable position of trying to restore trust to a public audience that has already reached a conclusion. .

    So, again, was it worth it to deflate those balls – or have them deflated? Is it ever worth it when the risk is being labeled a cheater?

    That’s actually a question for life, not just sports. Is it ever worth it when you try to rig the game, when you try to cut corners or take advantage of others, just to get an edge that you really didn’t deserve? Is there ever a way to justify deception? Is there a way to move past it quickly?

    Look at the examples that are taking place in everyday life.

    One of the most divisive issues that the country is facing right now is income inequality – not because some people have or make more money than others, but because of allegations that the playing field isn’t fair. Some argue that the wealthy are unfairly given the advantage of tax loopholes that help them to acquire even more wealth at the expense of the middle class. What about the arguments about people who unfairly get government handouts that others don’t get? In both examples, it comes down to a fairness issue, the feeling that someone else is cheating the system to get ahead.

    And what about the ongoing fury over policing in America? Some communities argue that police unfairly treat some groups of people better than others, that they are quicker to shoot in some communities than in others. Are people upset because they feel they’re being unfairly profiled and targeted by police? Or are they upset that the rules aren’t being applied fairly, that police treat one community different than others? In the end, it’s all about fairness – and when one group cheats for their own advantage, it really makes others angry.

    Whether government or business or sports or just life in general, no one wants to feel that they’ve been cheated because someone else was given an unfair advantage. We’re a country of equal opportunities, right? That’s what we’re taught as children – work hard, do your best and play by the rules and you can succeed.

    But when cheating leads to winning or when winners turn to cheating, it ruins the whole “game” for everyone, whether that game is football or business or taxes or even a relationship. Getting that trust back, clearing your reputation or just trying to shake that stupid asterisk from the final score of your victory seems to be so much harder than just playing by the rules in the first place.

    So, again, I ask the question to those behind this deflating: Was it worth it?

    I suspect it wasn’t.

     
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