Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A juxtaposition of our obsessions

Our obsession with political correctness in the country has continued, the latest victim, Sean Avery of the Dallas Stars. I could care less about Avery or the NHL in general, but there seems to be conflicting obsessions in this country. Clearly to me, there is an obsession with appearing morally superior to your peers, and there is a contrasting obsession with athletes and entertainers who bend the rules and push the boundaries of what is socially and morally acceptable. 

I feel like most people use language equivalent to Sean Avery's in every day life. This is not going to disappear. I remember being 8 or 9 years old, dishing out insults on the playground and getting them right back. That is the way life is. Most people are ok with that, and learn to roll with the punches. What is really bizarre to me however, is when a high profile situation like Avery's occurs in the media, the same people who you talk to and joke around with every day take the moral high ground. Why? In Avery's case, he has a history of saying things he was told not to by his employers, so maybe a suspension is warranted. But moral outrage? You hear crude comments day in and day out, but for some reason when it is said on television by a guy who smashes other men against plexi glass for a living, then it is outrageous and unacceptable. 

What is also upsetting to me is that the owners know what they are buying when they buy it. Over the past decade in sports, all popular American sports have tightened their disciplinary measures publicly. This is a nice public relations move, but there is no doubt in my mind that the athletes they love most are the problematic athletes. The owners and the public love the problem child. Almost everyone I have talked to over the past few years has told me they hate Barry Bonds. Oh yea? I find that kind of funny when you look on tv and see stadiums that are not normally sold out, loaded with people to see Barry Bonds hit Homeruns. I don't think that people genuinely love Barry Bonds, but they love to hate him. He is like the villain you hate in a comic book. He might be a cheater and a jerk, but he is a fun to watch cheater and jerk. People also talk about Terrell Owens as if he is some awful human. People call him a jerk and a cancer to his teams. But I can't count how many times over the past 5 years I have heard, "Did you see what TO did?" or "Did you hear what TO said?" We are obsessed with the problem child and the gossip that goes along with it, but outraged when they cross the invisible line of offensiveness. 

For some reason we hold sports organizations to a level of class and dignity publicly that we do not exercise in our own lives. We have to shield children from what they will certainly experience throughout their own lives countless times. We consider athletes role models even though they are paid to brutally hit their peers and win games. The truth of the matter is, children are more likely to emulate what they see on the field than what is seen during the pregame, and if you are going to complain about something maybe you should start there (though I see no reason to complain in general). I think people should think about their own ethics and morals, take a good look in the mirror, and if they still feel Sean Avery was wrong then so be it. 

1 comment:

Ryan said...

BIG WORDS! Good post though, no mention of former Giants TE, Vishante Shiancoe showing his vishante shiancoe on camerea the other day though.