Why Do Professional Sports Continue To Disappoint Us?

Bailey Brautigan@BBrautiganFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 21: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees grounds out and scores Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees during a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on July 21, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

We are all guilty of it. Whether we are watching ESPN or reading articles on Bleacher Report, we always pay more attention to negative (or at least “negative-sounding”) stories.

Admit it. During an episode of SportsCenter , you secretly wish that Stuart Scott will just skip to the tab reading “Vick in Trouble Again.”

We immerse ourselves in negativity, and we wonder why athletes and teams continue to make disappointing moves. Like neglected children, they can only gain our attention by lashing out. Our sports figures have some serious behavioral problems, and we can only blame our own obsession with negative hype for the lack of positive role models in the sports world these days.

Take Bleacher Report as an example:

Just now, looking at our front page, seven articles contain headlines that are somehow negative. There are even more of these on the main NFL, MLB, and NBA pages (15, 13, and 15 consecutively). To put this into perspective, about 50 percent of the articles fit this mold.

Alex Rodriguez nears the 600 home run milestone, and all we can focus on is his past steroid use. In the past, we turned Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire into cultural icons, but A-Rod can’t catch a break. We would rather focus on his failed relationships and other transgressions instead of the fact that he is currently establishing himself in baseball history as an elite player.

Ben Roethlisberger and Reggie Bush have both recently played huge roles in bringing Super Bowl rings to their teams, but we can’t pull ourselves away from stories and articles involving sexual assault and NCAA violations.

We love to bash Tiger Woods as he struggles this year in golf. His infidelities have consumed the airwaves, while we ignore the fact that Phil Mickelson won the Masters after sticking by his wife during her battle with cancer.

Recent No. 1 NBA Draft pick John Wall seems like a good kid with superstar potential, but Wizards news still finds the need to bring up Gilbert Arenas whether he is relevant or not. We, as sports consumers, are simply much more interested in guns in the locker room than summer league success.

Now, sport as an entertainment outlet is based on competition. It wouldn’t be any fun if Philadelphia Eagles fans and New York Giants fans hugged each other and sang Kumbaya during a game, but competition isn’t the reason for all of this negative press.

Athletes and teams messing up big time like they have been recently is the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy—we expect our sports stars to make bad decisions, and they continue to do so.

While bad press makes for a much more interesting sports section, we are running out of admirable sports figures to idolize.

It is time we get behind the Drew Breeses of the sports world.

It is more than a little disturbing that sports fans paid so much more attention to LeBron James’ “decision” than we did to that of Kevin Durant. We gave the boy leaving his hometown with little hope of a championship more publicity than we did the man who elegantly stuck by an organization that had treated him so well.

In the end, it is all up to you, sports fans. It can be difficult to separate ourselves from all the drama, but we’re better than that.

So go read some TMZ, and get it out of your system.

And then come back, and let’s root for the good guys!