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America's Obsession With Sports Essay

2263 words - 9 pages

World Series, NBA Finals, Final Four, Super Bowl, National Championship, College World Series, The Masters, these are the ultimate competitive goals for both athletes and fans. America loves to watch these highly competitive sporting events. From ancient times to modern day, sports have always been a part of the makeup of our society. Beginning with the Native American sportsmen “who competed for religious, medicinal, and gambling purposes” sports of old and new have continued to change and evolve in our society’s culture (“Sports”). Sports over the years have advanced and changed both in positive and in controversial ways, not only in its rules but in the attention paid to it by society. Increasingly, sports have become a common factor that the American culture could relate to no matter the gender, age, or ethnicity. Indeed, sports are a part of the threads that make up our society.
Sports of old were simply competitive activities rooted in heroism and romanticism (Cashmore 3). Sports activities today, however, have no such innocence or simplicity. Currently in America, the activities that make up our sports culture is not only the competitive events themselves, but the processes and issues that underlie and surround them. Entwined in our sports culture is the giant business of mass broadcasting. Sports media has had it advantages and its disadvantages, and its truths and falsehoods in the world of sports culture. A negative vibe is felt when the media shapes its viewers’ perception of athletes by depicting them negatively or unappreciated based on race or gender stereotypes. One such group that the media tends to misrepresent is female athletes. Women athletes tend to get less coverage in the media than men do. Many times a commentary given about women athletes is humiliating or has sexual propositions to it. Women athletes are given credit and are only considered noteworthy because of their attractiveness, and not because of their ability. According to Sharma’s article in The Sport Digest, one such example of this stereotyping is the yearly edition of the ever popular and widely published swimsuit edition of the magazine, Sports Illustrated (Sharma).
Like female athletes, African Americans have had a difficult time getting equal treatment and representation for their successes by the media. African Americans were thought to have a feeling of hate towards others, as displayed in the classic feature, Remember the Titans, “Look at them, they hate us, they’ll always hate us” (Yakin). In today’s sports arena, African American athletes are represented in their sports’ categories in a larger group than in the past. However, they are still struggling to have the same equalization as their teammates in the media’s representation of their talents and skills. A typical stereotype of the African American by the media is their depiction of them having more muscle than brain. For example, Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers is a white male whom...

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