What’s up peeps, and welcome back to another edition of Post Up. Today I will be ranting and raving about something that his slightly been touched on by my partner AJ already, and that is the media. If you do not know the article I am talking about when I say that, than look no further than right here:
That being said, I will be not only looking at one player and sport, but multiple because of what I have seen, especially over the last few years, from the all mighty media.
It all starts here for the athletes that I am talking about today. Whether it be LeBron James, Bryce Harper, Wayne Rooney, etc. my rant against the media starts here when these athletes are young and destroying their competition. The media in general does many things wrong, and disgraceful, but the way that they treat the youth in sports is the worst. When you have players like LeBron James winning and wrecking everything in high school, or Bryce Harper graduating high school early and going to college at 16 to gain more of a challenge in baseball, or finally you have Wayne Rooney who was also destroying all his competition at a young age and was therefore deemed the “White Pele” sooner or later the media gains hold.
Once the media finds you, then the hype gets extremely real. All of a sudden you are seen as the savior of whatever sport you will be entering. Whenever you do something big, they analyze every single thing you do. You cannot say a word without 1,000’s of people picking apart every word you say. The media wonders when you will join a team, if you will declare for the draft, how amazing will you actually be. Sure, they may be kids that have never played a professional game in their lives, but that does not matter. You are beating the competition senseless right now, what is stopping you from being a Hall of Famer and winning at least one championship and doing all that as a professional.
Then it happens, you join the big leagues. For Bryce, it took slightly longer than it did for James and Rooney. James and Rooney were playing for their teams almost as quickly as they could, James at 18 and Rooney at 16. Harper had to maneuver his way through the minors before making his debut at 19, but he was still not spared. Once you hit the big leagues, the media frenzy just gets worse. The second you join the professional system, the media starts hounding you relentlessly. In high school, the worst you heard was something you could improve and how you could improve that. Now as a professional, it isn’t how you will improve, but will you? How long will it take you to adjust, are you really as good as you are supposed to be, why are you doing this and not that? It becomes painful for an athlete, because every day the media is expecting greatness from you and if you do not deliver, they tear you apart.
Then the milestone happens. With Harper it was his first hit, in his first game, or his stealing of home plate, or even his first home run. With LeBron it was his first 20+ game in his first game, or his first 40+ game, the youngest to do it. With Rooney it was scoring the winning goal against unbeaten Arsenal, and ending their 30 game unbeaten streak, or in his first game for Manchester United, netting a hat trick. Whatever you decide, it is those early milestones in their career that are amazing, and yet a curse. This is because once those milestones are hit, you are feeding the beast. The media likes to pretend that they believed in your ability to do this the entire time, but now they want to know when it will happen again. When it does not happen quickly enough, then it gets worse. They wonder if you are healthy, if it was all a flash in the pan, if other greats can do it consistently, why can’t you? Once these young players show signs of greatness, the media attacks like vultures.
If you don’t win, or live up to the hype in a certain aspect, then the media gets worse. Bryce Harper is too young, so only time will tell how he gets the media’s treatment, but LeBron James and Wayne Rooney are unfortunate seasoned veteran’s. With LeBron James he was every bit a great player, but he failed to win it all. He was criticized and ripped apart by the media the entire time he was not winning in Cleveland and then again when he was in his first year in Miami. With Wayne Rooney, the story is much the same, but in a different context. Rooney has won every single thing he could at the club level with Manchester United, and has won multiple things more than once. However, being the savior of England, his shortcomings are ripped apart on a national scale. Rooney has scored 39 times for England, but never once during the World Cup. He is currently in his third World Cup, but whenever England does not play well or win, the blame is automatically placed on him.
This is where my issues lay with the media and how they treat players. It seems as if whenever someone does not live up to the hype THEY created, then all of a sudden they are ripped apart and tossed aside as a fraud. Just because LeBron never won in Cleveland, and is 2-3 in the finals, does not make it ALL his fault. Sure could he have played better in some games? Absolutely, but why always blame him for everything. The fact of the matter is, LeBron has only had a team around him in two of his 5 NBA Finals runs, and one of those times they actually just ran into a better team and lost to the Mavs. The rest of LeBron’s teams have nearly been a one man show, so why blame that on him? Sure Jordan had the ability to make some of his players better, but he also had stars around him that tried. Pippen, Rodman, Kerr, Grant, etc. etc. were just as hungry as Jordan and when the going got tough, Jordan as well as those players stepped up their game. LeBron, believe it or not, does make players around him better. Wade is not as good as he was anymore, and has not been that way for a few years, yet he seems to have found some new life with LeBron. Norris Cole is seen as a great back-up, Bosh has had his struggles, but he as well as everyone around LeBron has improved over their time around LeBron. Hell, LeBron is so good that he made Mike Brown and Eric Spoelstra look good and took this team to the Finals:
Courtesy of Wikipedia
People criticize LeBron all the time for not making his players better. The fact of the matter is, he does, but he can only do that to a certain point. The players around him have to try as well, Jordan’s did, therefore he was a winner. LeBron’s cast does not care as much as he does, therefore LeBron has not won nearly as much.
Wayne Rooney is in the same boat, as I mentioned earlier. Because he has never scored at the World Cup, whenever England loses, it is HIS fault. This has been the case for many years, but this past weekend it was at its worse. England lost and it automatically went on Rooney. Sure, he set up a goal on a beautiful cross, and sure he was asked to play out of position for the sake of the team, but yet it is still ALL HIS FAULT. Outside of Sterling, the England team as a whole was not on point. A very strong argument can be made that Rooney was England’s second or third best player that night, and yet the blame was still all on him. The second the game ended, every media outlet in England was calling for him to be removed from the starting squad, they were wondering if he was worth the roster spot, they were all pointing the finger at him. Why is it that no one ever points the fingers at Gerrard, or Johnson, or Henderson or the horrible English defense? Why always point at Rooney?
This rant and point I am trying to make is long and drawn out, and I apologize, but it makes me angry knowing the full story and how these people are treated, but here is the point I am trying to make. Why is the finger always pointed at LeBron, or Rooney, or any big time prodigy or player? The media are to blame. They hype up these players to be a godsend and instant Hall of Famers. They create these stories that analyze every move, every breath they take. They pick apart and haunt these players to no end, and the worst part is that we fall for it. We fall for the fact that the media says LeBron is not good, and we love it because we love to hate the guy. We fall for the fact that the media says Rooney should be gone, and so 48% of voters voted Rooney’s best position for the next game is on the bench. We see that Bryce had some issues in minor league ball, or that everything he does in the majors is because of his attitude, and that is because they media made him out to be that way.
The players never listen to the media because they know already how much BS is in it, but as fans we seem to always fall for it for whatever reason. Why can’t we just let these guys be and let them play? When asked about Kawhi Leonard winning the Finals MVP last night, the youngest since Tim Duncan and the 3rd youngest ever, Tony Parker said it best, “I hope you [the media] don’t put too much pressure on him, because he’s still got time. We do it as a team and we play together and Kawhi won that award and it’s well-deserved. At the same time, you have to let him grow. He’s only 22.”
That’s what we as fans need to do, let these players grow and play their careers. I used to be one of those fans that would jump on board the LeBron hate train as soon as I could. If he did something wrong, I was there, if he did something right, I picked it apart to look for the bad. Then I realized, why? Why do I do this? Why can I not enjoy the fact the LeBron is a top 5 player ever? Why can I not accept the fact that he is a good guy, does a lot of good on and off the court? Why can I not accept the fact he IS GREAT? That’s when I figured it out. I figured out that the players enjoy their time in the league and don’t pay attention to the comparisons until their career is over. Why can’t we do that as fans? We can’t we enjoy how great these players are?
The media wants us to pick these guys apart, to love them, to hate them, to do as they wish. Instead I ask that you ignore the media that does this. Ignore those who try to pick apart a player for this and that. Ignore those who are examining the way they did this, so therefore they stand for that. JUST ENJOY THE PLAYERS. Now I am not saying do not examine the players, if we did not do that, then I would be out of a job. But what I am asking is do not pick them apart like the big mainstream media sites do. Players are only in our lives for a few years, and then they retire. While they are in the limelight, appreciate what they have done, what they had to go through, and most importantly, appreciate their greatness.
Thanks for reading!
All stats and information courtesy of wikipedia.org