The introduction of the Leonard article lends itself to a greater discussion about crime and athletes, and crime and black athletes. All too often do athletes find themselves in the middle of a media fiasco because of a DUI, gun charges, or, in some extreme cases, rape charges.
Donte Stallworth drove drunk and killed a guy. Michael Vick tortured and killed dogs. Jason Michaels assaulted a police officer. Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg. Ben Roethlisberger was accused of forcing himself on a girl in a bathroom. I could go on. Athletes are glorified in the media often as heroes, and stories like these are damaging to kids who look up to athletes as role models.
But all of these athletes, after they committed/were accused of sometimes felonies, returned to the playing field. Professional sports is far too forgiving of athletes who commit crimes or surround themselves with criminals off the field.
It extends to collegiate sports to, and even Temple. This summer, a football player was charged with rape and Khalif Wyatt was convicted of attempting to solicit prostitution. The football player was kicked off the team, but as of right now, there are no plans to suspend Wyatt. Even now, when the woman who accused the football player of rape, has come forward and said that she had consensual sex with him prior to the incident, the football player in question is still not with the school.
The tolerance of criminal activities of student-athletes and professional athletes has to change, as does the way the sports media covers them.
The Kian article makes me think of something that happened to me recently...
At a recent Temple News staff meeting, the subject of the recent female referee who officiated an NFL game was brought up. We were doing an article on it, and were discussing the role of females in sports and sports media. One staff member said the majority of female sports broadcasters aren't as knowledgeable as the males, and the only reason they have jobs is because "they're really hot."
While the comments were ignorant, they were also representative of how a large portion of people view the sports media in Philadelphia. Females are still thought of as eye candy and not professional reporters, in the sports media at least. They are still the sideline reporters and aren't used in prime time. There are almost no female game broadcasters in the four professional sports. Their role is relegated to a lower tier than the male's roles.