Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault and domestic violence.
If there were any title for the 2010s as a time period so far, it should definitely be called “the Age of Glorification.” The habit of the mainstream populace to put our top tier celebrities on pedestals has officially grown into a dilemma.
For example, Donald Trump is a celebrity with few real qualifications, on the doorstep of winning the Republican nomination for president. We have a family of drama queens in the Kardashian-Jenner tandem that has tantalized the masses with their buzz feed moves.
Perhaps worst of all, though, is that we have a group of physically talented young men in professional sports that are essentially operating under their own rules with their large paychecks and ego. Naturally, they are idolized by their fans, many of whom are young and impressionable.
So, for the kid two years ago who was so thrilled to open that brand new Ray Rice jersey under his Christmas tree — what is his perception of the man who knocked his wife out cold in an elevator?
What about little Johnny out in Minnesota who has posters of Adrian Peterson everywhere, who wants to be just like him when he grows up, who covets his attitude and talent? What does he think when he hears that All Day was arrested two years ago for abusing one of his children? Does he care? Probably not.
In his mind, that’s still his role model, an NFL MVP and first-ballot Hall of Famer, and nothing changes that.
Thus, we have an entire culture that essentially gets to act however they please without any real consequence. Your talent can overshadow your moral shortcomings in the entertainment business.
I do not mean to imply that all professional athletes are scumbags, because that cannot be farther from the truth. There are quite a few gentlemen in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — the problem is, the samaritan deeds of many are overshadowed by the moronic actions of a few, so it feels as if the public has become numb to it.
Another perfect example of this phenomenon is Peyton Manning.
Manning is one of the most beloved players in NFL history with his own fan base that is probably double the size of the entire fanbase of Jacksonville Jaguars’. With all his accolades, including the Super Bowl 50 ring this year, the Sheriff rides into the sunset as one of the most larger than life figures in sports—and it was almost all for naught.
Unbeknownst to most people, Manning was involved in a sex scandal while he was still a Tennessee Volunteer.
During a checkup for a potential fracture in his foot, Manning allegedly rubbed his testicles and anus on the face of University of Tennessee personal trainer Jamie Naughright. In what became a he said-she said situation, the star quarterback won the power struggle and Naughright was forced to resign.
Manning has been the shining embodiment of good character, according to his media attention, the NFL and all his endorsement deals. However, imagine if just about any other athlete committed such a heinous act.
They would almost certainly be disciplined, as they should be, and in all likelihood, their chances of being a top-tier pro would wither instantly.
However, such is life for top flight athletes, a career path where the rules apply to everyone but yourself. When Naughright countersued Manning for defamation, the situation was resolved out of court.
When Ben Roethlisberger was accused of sexual assault, the situation was resolved out of court. When Greg Hardy was accused of domestic violence, once again, the situation was resolved out of court.
The problem is evident in other professional sports as well. Aroldis Chapman is awaiting a suspension from MLB commissioner Robert Manfred after he reportedly choked his girlfriend and discharged a handgun in his garage eight times.
Just like his NFL counterparts, the matter was settled out of court and downplayed.
Just a few weeks ago, Blake Griffin broke his hand after beating up an equipment staffer on the Los Angeles Clippers. No charges were levied, nor any suspensions by the league.
In a world that is so heavily invested in the industry of entertainment, where do we draw the line? How much more can we allow these actions to take place without the proper ramifications?
Overall, who is going to have the courage to charge these men fairly for their actions, instead of simply sweeping their allegations under the rug?
Part of the responsibility falls on us fans. We have to hold the stars to a higher standard than “thug with a lot of money.”
Scott Vogel is a first-year student majoring in English. He can be reached at SV845618@wcupa.edu.
One thought on “Pushing aside players’ unjust acts”
A very well written article. Well done, Scott.