Having said that, I remember when college athletes were just that — college athletes, not CELEBRITIES! But, oh, how those days have come and gone. We’re now as likely to get information about college stars from E! or TMZ as we are from Sports Illustrated or The Sporting News.
Example: Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, who has become the 2013 college version of 1960s pro star Joe Namath. Just be thankful the NCAA doesn’t allow college players to take part in advertising.
You can also throw Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron into the celeb/athlete mix. The Heisman-hopeful has been dating Auburn grad and former Miss Alabama Katherine Webb for several months now. Webb came into the public light and had her “career” launched when ESPN broadcasters Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit dared to say she was pretty during coverage of January’s BCS Championship Game (which Bama won, if anyone still cares about that kind of thing).
Well now England’s The Daily Mail — read that again just to make sure you process it — is reporting that McCarron might’ve been a naughty boy back in Alabama while Webb was recently taking part in the Spike TV Guys Choice Awards in LA. (Webb’s career has included the reality-contest and award-show circuit since Musburger’s cooing.) According to the rag — I’m sorry – paper, another model named Margaret Wood now claims to have spent the night at McCarron’s house.
Oh, no he di’n't!
You can read the rest of this nonsense here. We bring it to you only to show how the line between sports star and celebrity has been blurred in this information-overload age. Hey, with thousands of television and radio networks and millions of websites fighting to fill 24-hours a day with something it was only a matter of time before people started to report on who Timmy Fullback dates and what Charlie Lineman has for dinner.
Social media — where you, too, can be the paparazzi! — has ramped things up even further.
Sorry, but who really gives a damn?
Newsflash: College football players have always dated pretty girls. But such dating exploits weren’t covered nationally — or internationally, in McCarron’s case — until recently.
Anyone remember reading about the girlfriends of Florida’s Danny Wuerffel or Tennessee’s Peyton Manning? In basketball, were Shaquille O’Neal’s evening activities broken down and disseminated by the press? Of course not.
I get it that we’re now living in a different day and age in terms of wall to wall media. I understand that everyone is now part of the media. I also grasp the fact that it’s June and a lack of news will lead many a radio host or blogger to seriously discuss McCarron’s love life… Which girl is prettier? Should Webb dump him? Do you believe this other model’s claims?
But unless the off-field stuff impacts the on-field stuff, I don’t get the national interest. Are our own lives so God-awful that we actually have to distract ourselves with gossip about a 20-year-old college quarterback’s social life?