2005-07-04

A Few Thoughts on the Gambler

By now you must have heard of the controversy surrounding Kenny Rogers and his abuse of a cameraman. The pitcher for the Texas Rangers has been suspended 20 games (4 starts) and fined $50,ooo by the MLB for shoving a member of the media to the ground.

As you could expect everyone in the media has been quick to criticize Rogers, some (Dan Patrick) have called for Rogers to be suspended the rest of season, comparing what Rogers did to the Ron Artest melee last year.

Now, the media is in an uproar because Rogers has been named to the All-Star team, earning him a $50,000 bonus. Many people have called for Rogers to skip the game, infering that he does not deserve to play with the best players in baseball.

Rogers deserved to be suspended. He deserved to be fined. But he also deserved to play in the All-Star game. He's 9-4 with a 2.45 ERA (2nd best in the AL). The All-Star game honors the league's best players and nobody can argue that Rogers is not having a great season.

Additionally, I don't believe Rogers should demonized to the extent that he has been. The media has become considerably more hostile towards professional athletes, making the assumption that since the players are being payed millions the media has a right to 24 hour access. This is hogwash.

Players have been able to make more money because more people follow the 3 big sports than ever before. With the birth of ESPN and franchise expansion sports have become more ubiquitous and popular in the U.S. Each young baseball and basketball player is no longer an amatuer athlete, but instead is considered the Next Big Thing, with million dollar endorsement deals to follow.

This has led to an increase in the number of paparazzi masquerading as sports reporters, people who enjoy following sports but don't have the talent to actually report a story. Instead they provoke players (i.e. Jim Rome) looking to create the story. Can you imagine having someone with a camera follow you around everywhere you went, constantly asking you questions, frequently looking for a way to make you look like a fool?

Well, that's what happened to Rogers. Somebody crossed the boundry of what he found acceptable and he forced that person to stop. He should have found a different way to do that, and he will undoubtedly suffer because of one mistake for the rest of his career.

2 comments:

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