National Signing Day Exposes Inherent Biases in Sports Media

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soso-presser

The past week has not been great for sports media’s collective look. One could argue it’s been a lot longer than a week, but the past week-to-two weeks have been especially rough with the back-to-back circuses of the Super Bowl and national signing day falling one right after the other.

National signing day has a way of bringing out the worst in people, and not just overzealous fans who feel compelled to tweet at recruits. #Takes like the below are commonplace this time each year.

Are baseless attacks on the high schoolers holding press conferences today just crotchety old man syndrome, the proverbial Abe Simpson shouting at a cloud?

abe-cloud

Perhaps. But given how commonly expressed this sentiment is just about every national signing day, I tend to believe it’s more a commentary on the tendency some in sports media have in instantly assuming the worst of athletes.

Labeling recruits “entitled twerps” based on…?…is the same line of thinking as guaranteeing a player’s arrest because he frequently received technical-foul calls.

Trenise Ferreira wrote on this very website just two days ago that the furor over Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s interaction with media said a lot more about the outlets covering him than it did Lynch.

Lynch was repeatedly castigated by various publications and programs for his refusal to give reporters and radio jocks usable quotes and soundbites. Consumers demanded content on Lynch because he’s one of the game’s biggest stars, and his reclusive personality only fuels demand. One could still craft an excellent feature on Lynch, as Jayson Jenks did for the Seattle Times. It just required an unconventional approach not everyone is willing to try.

Lynch cut off reporters’ easy road and was criticized for it. Meanwhile, here are high schools recruits not just opening the easy road, but embracing it. And that’s the sad part.

Remove media entitlement from the conversation and analyze national signing day press conferences purely from the perspective of the athletes.

My friend and Fox Sports Live man behind the scenes Aaron Torres summarized, in less than 140 characters, the aura to which I alluded in my national signing day primer yesterday.

Never mind how much easier these press conferences make reporters’ jobs in providing consumers content they demand. National signing day is the culmination and celebration of years of hard work paying off in the form of a scholarship.

That’s a damn cool thing, and I pity anyone who fails to recognize it.