Plastic Titans: Air McNair, A-Rod, Tiger, & More

December 27, 2009 at 11:11 pm (Sports) (, , , , , )

Steve McNair, Alex Rodriguez, & Tiger Woods reveal what's usually kept under wraps

Sports will forever satisfy society’s basic hunger for entertainment.

Plastic will forever describe some of sports’ larger than life figures.

Titans will forever reign in our hearts, no matter what they have done.


It’s just a game to us, right?

There is a rhetorical tone to that probing question of Americana. Since the advent of sports (i.e. football, baseball, basketball, golf, etc.) in the American daily diet, American’s have lost their appetite for reality in a sense.

Sure reality TV shows are everywhere, but their realness is controlled, much like sports.

Imagine a place where everything is sports related

Sports in America can be best described as a fantasy world made of real parts. The fantasy is the games being played, whereas the real parts are the participants. The two collide to form a grandiose spectacle which inspires the imagination of a country, the wallets of sponsors, and the pens of journalists.

Simply, there is nothing more contagious and intoxicating than the competitive spirit of sports.

So when the sporting world is blessed with athletes that change the typical mold, ordinary people become fanatical, hence the term fans.

His Airness reigns above reality

Imagine a six-foot plus man who could sling an oblong ball made of cowhide leather 70 yards, all the while eluding towering men three times his girth.

Imagine a six-foot plus man who could glove speeding bullet spheres, all the while generating enough power to light up a scoreboard.

Imagine a six-foot plus man who could contort his body into a Twizzler just to unwind in order to hit a speck on the ground, all the while feeling the deafening pressure of a gallery in silence.

These are the dimensions of three very different men, with three very distinct abilities, but very similar flaws.

Steve McNair, Alex Rodriguez, and Tiger Woods were men caught up in the plastic world of sports, where the paparazzi are the sun, the lime lights  are the moon, and the world is their oyster.


Reality is filled with tears and disappointment. But in the Archie Bunker sports world, there is no crying.

There is only winning or losing. Jubilation or frustration.

And in one calendar year we were shown why sometimes plastic is better than the real thing.

We expect our athletes to do the unimaginable, sit down, and get ready to do it all again.

We expect them to turn down big time money, play for one franchise or program, and sustain a stable household while traveling most of the year.

Is this a job or a game?

Sports is a livelihood to the athletes. It’s a profession to the journalists. And it’s just a game to the rest of us.

But what kind of livelihood turns people decrepit or worse, suicidal (i.e. Andre Waters)?

What kind of profession treats its employees like unpaid interns (i.e. collegiate athletes)?

What kind of game (i.e. sport) leads to divorces, unnatural body alterations, or murder?

When you have real participants in a game, you can have a real problem on your hand.

But what do we care as journalists and fans, spectators alike?

We came for the glitz and glamor.

In fact, we encourage the extravagance of multimillion dollar Super Bowl commercials,  quarter of billion dollar athletes, and multibillion dollar branding machines dubbed leagues, owners, sponsors, advertisers, boosters, etc.

Feast your eyes on the billion dollar baby of Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones

And then, we the same people who awe at the gaudiness, we throw in our two cents (i.e. a season pass worth) on how these athletes should handle the fame and fortune.

It’s like a chain smoker telling another chain smoker to cut down on smoking.

How about you stop blowing smoke? Or better yet, money? Maybe then these rich athletes and front office types will better understand reality.

I guess we overlook the reality of the situation on purpose, because the facts of real world are just that… real.

I know we journalists are often the plastic wrappers who protect these athletes’ legends.

See, we try hard to keep our star athletes in mint condition, away from the tainting agents of immoral activities.

Nobody cares to see the reality behind the hype, until someone ends up broke, a joke, or dead.

Nobody cared to see the reality of Magic Johnson and the fast time Lakers of the 80s, until that news conference that made HIV a household name.

Nobody cared to see the reality of wrestling’s macho men with cartoonish figures, until they were popping up dead or crazy or both (i.e. Chris Benoit).

Nobody cared to see the reality of animal abuse that a pocket culture of Americans participate in, until Michael Vick was seen on tape walking around a dog fighting venue.

So who’s really fake and out of touch with reality?


Big Time Willie from the Spike Lee Joint “He Got Game” said it best.

If the drugs and the liquor don’t trouble star athletes, there is always sex.

We throw money, sex, and accolades at these athletes and we expect them to be immune to it.

And nothing is better than hearing self-righteous journalists and talking-heads saying in unison:

“Not him. I didn’t expect this from him.”

Yes, him. And why not?

Athletes satisfy our basic thirst for godlike heroes to worship

I have hung around athletes most of my adult life, granted I’m only 23. But I have seen athletes my age and younger get fawned over like modern day godlike beings, by society’s so called adults.

So can I blame these prep stars for taking deals from older people who should know and do better?

Can I blame these collegiate athletes who seek a piece of the merchandising pie of EA Sports & the two-faced NCAA?

Can I blame any number of these amateur or professional game-players for exploiting a system, which exploits them?

In the immortal words of Chris Rock, “Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.”

In the end, it’s just a game. And we can keep it from reigning over our lives, right?

The Journalist



  1. AT&T, Tiger Woods, No More « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] } AT&T is above infidelity… riiight Tiger was once the toast of the world Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  2. Quiet Please: Monty Speaks on Tiger Woods « Phresh Graffiti said,

    […] will come back, but whether he will retain that mystique as an iconic player, I’m not sure. It will be tougher for him, but he’ll be out to prove he do this under […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: