Exposed in the spotlight

| Forum Editor

With the recent exposure of Tiger Woods’ marital issues, we ought to question the influence of the media in the private lives of sports figures. The Tiger Woods scandal has simply gotten out of hand and is a clear representations of the media meddling in celebrities’ lives in order to increase their viewer base. This is not the first case where sports figures are destroyed in the public eye through the media’s lens, however. Therefore, should we question the media or question our placement of sports stars on pedestals?

Here at Wash. U., we do not fully comprehend the spotlight that sports stars receive. For example, imagine you went to the University of Florida and had a class with Tim Tebow (UF’s star quarterback). The amount of press and attention that he would get would probably drive many fellow classmates and peers insane. Yet, every Sunday morning, thousands of people wake up to turn on SportsCenter and hope to get a glimpse of their favorite player’s personal life. Why do we have double standards where we wish to keep our lives private, yet we want to know what Tom Brady’s wife was wearing at a party?

Remember Michael Phelps and his fall from grace due to his marijuana use? Media all over the world had a field day tarnishing the amazing athlete’s clean record. The most intriguing shift in the world of sports, however, was the federal government’s involvement in sports regulation. When Mark McGwire had to attend U.S. Senate hearings regarding his steroid use, the world was shocked. Why did the government ever see a need to put aside the hundreds of pressing issues like debt, terrorism and the economy to intensely question a man about his drug abuse? This is just another sign of the media and the federal government growing too large and powerful, addressing their own needs while forgetting about the needs of the public.

The real issue behind the Tiger scandals and the Barry Bonds fiasco is that, as American sports fans, we put great athletes on impossible pedestals and expect them to be perfect sportsmen on and off the field. But the moment someone has an affair (or is caught using a bong), we tie them to a pole and stone them. Looking at the Tiger Woods situation, it is a shame that he had marital issues, but why do CNN and the AP have to announce every nasty detail to the world? Their need to make sure that they keep readers enthralled drives them to sacrifice the private lives of celebrities and sports stars.

In the end, we should ask ourselves if we would ever want to be placed on a public platform, especially when people all over the world get to know the problems we are having. Most of these public scandals blow over (look at A-Rod, Phelps and McGwire), but lives are ruined and people lose respect for their idols. Hopefully Tiger will be able to come out of this fiasco without losing too many endorsements or lovers. Oh, and keeping fans would be great too.

Aditya is a junior in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via e-mail at asarvesh@artsci.wustl.edu.