Sports Standards: A glimpse into sports entertainment


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by Alex Wang, Opinion Editor

Spectators see only what is shown to them. A baseball player hitting a home run to win a World Series. A football player charging through an entire defensive line for a touchdown. The news of another record-breaking basketball contract. This is entertainment and this is what the viewers want to see.

Even the social media posts and banter that is made public for spectators to view and even publicized by the media is geared towards feeding the interest and viewership that the sports entertainment industry is predicated upon. And the viewers continue to show their loyalty to the world of sports media. In a time when people are turning away from the traditional television set, and television viewership is on the decline, sports entertainment stands out as the program that brings viewers back to their couches and armchairs.

The owners of professional sports teams, the coaches, the players, the league commissioners, and everyone working in the media to cover sports know that they are being watched and make their moves with the intent of maintaining that attention in order to continue bolstering viewership. This attention also becomes an outlet for anyone affiliated with sports entertainment to use his or her coverage to communicate with the public. With all of the current buzz with anthem protests in the NFL and criticism of NBA players for cultural appropriation, many players have begun to use the public dedication to televised athletics to cast a light on some issues that they feel are significant.

The internal and external responses to these players’ actions allows us a small glimpse into the inner workings of the sports entertainment machine. For example, in the case of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem, both the internal response by the NFL teams and the external response by the viewers and fans illuminated the “behind-the-scenes” of the National Football League. The teams in the league have elected to leave Kaepernick unsigned, possibly in order to avoid alienating those fans who deem Kaepernick’s protest inappropriate, while fans have extensively debated the protest on social media, some standing behind Kaepernick, while others denounce him.

Through these glimpses into the workings of sports entertainment, we can begin to piece together a picture of the industry. What really happens behind the scenes to drive the worldwide phenomenon of professional sports? In this column, I hope to explore and eventually answer this question.