Playing God

Playing God

Acceptance and appreciation from peers and elders is something that every athlete, subconsciously, would love to have even though they may not admit it. It may not be the main, motivating factor driving them to perform at their best but it’s one of them. There are only three factions that truly matter in grand scheme of athletes being judged, scrutinized, praised and accepted. Those three factions are the fans, the coaches and the players, past and present. But when it comes to how athletes are perceived and who gets awards and accolades, there’s only one faction in control, the media and that’s not right.

It’s absolutely absurd that men and women who have, more than likely, never played in any professional sports leagues of any sort get to determine these athletes’ legacies and their place in history. How did the media even get such power? Now, I’m not talking about them doing their duties as reporting sports news to the rest of the world but playing “sports god”.

One huge issue I have with the media’s power in sports is voting for postseason awards and Hall Of Fame honors. Yes, fans vote for All-Star games but those are fantasy exhibition games with no true value (except for the MLB All-Star Game starting in 2003, thanks Bud). Having the media vote for who wins an award or enters the Hall Of Fame is like having non-Americans vote during our presidential elections.

Players and coaches should be the ones voting for who gets MVP, Defensive Player of the Year and who gets to take the prestigious trip to Canton, Springfield, Cooperstown and Toronto (the four locations of the NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL Halls of Fame.) They’re the ones that actually see and compete against these players day in and day out, so whom better to vote? At least the Heisman committee has it partly right by having all past winners of the trophy to vote for the winner.

It’s not officially known, exactly, when the Steroid Era started in Major League Baseball, but it seems to be have been from 1992-2006. In that era, you had players like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, most of whom had multiple record-shattering seasons during this time frame. All of the aforementioned athletes were either accused of, admitted to or were found guilty of doing steroids.

The athletes from this era are already up for or will be up for Hall Of Fame consideration but more than likely won’t get inducted because they’re seen as cheaters. Now, whether they’re cheaters or not is a whole ‘nother issue but anyway, I digress. So, maybe they don’t make it into the HOF, but should people who have personal bias against some of these players because of their transgressions really determine their legacy or should the players who competed against them have a say?

Most people would argue that professional athletes really don’t have that much power. What I mean by that is they don’t get too much of a say so in what goes on with the league they play in, the changes that are made, certain things that are limited, etc. Instead of just having them deal with the social responsibility that comes with being a high-profile athlete, have them be the one to judge their peers. The four professional leagues should make this move and get the media back to what they do best and that’s reporting the sporting news to the world. I’m pretty sure a degree in communications, broadcasting or English doesn’t mean you have qualifications in voting for an athlete into the Hall Of Fame or for postseason awards.

I understand that a lot of athletes might not want to vote for their peers. They feel it’d be too much work and pressure and that’s why they delegate that responsibility to the media. I’d just have an issue if people that never played a day in my shoes judged who was great annually and who’s seen as a legend. Maybe it’s the players that need to step it up, maybe the leagues but a change should be made to see a separation of media and sports.

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