Sometimes, I like to look at myself as some sort of critical thinker. Other times, I think I’m an easily annoyed 18 year-old with a laptop, some sort of power, and too much time. However you choose to look at things, I’m annoyed for the second straight week, and you’re going to read about it.
Last week, I left the Philly sports bubble that I live in on a 24/7 basis, and ranted on people who share satirical articles on social media, but don’t understand satire and they actually believe the articles are true. Worse than that, at least in my mind, are the people who see those same headlines on Facebook or Twitter, don’t bother to look if it is actually real, and start walking around reporting the news to their friends and family, which is pretty much passing along laziness and stupidity.
I’m slightly less annoyed this week, because the topic I’m going to rant on has only annoyed me for about 24 hours, and hasn’t had time to build up in my mind.
If you’ve been on Facebook in the last 24 hours, you’ve likely seen this.
The first time I saw this, I laughed off how stupid and hypocritical it was and kept scrolling. Since then, I’ve seen it shared far too many times, to just keep scrolling past it.
Let’s begin with the idea that Derrick Coleman, who certainly has an inspirational story of his own, hasn’t gotten his credit. Coleman was featured on a Duracell ad just last season, had a special on Good Morning America, and was featured on Sportscenter and the Superbowl 49 pregame show. I’d say he got just enough attention for his story to be cool, and not annoying and overdone.
may be is a douchebag, but I think that’s far from the reason he’s gotten most of his attention. Certainly the Manziel autograph scandal and coke in the bathroom speculation got their fair share of attention, among other things, but they only got attention because Manziel was an insanely exciting college player who won a Heisman. From what I’ve seen so far of him in the NFL, I think he’s relying far too much on his legs for his own good, but he hasn’t even played in a regular season game yet. Sure, he’s a backup, but so were Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick and Nick Foles in their rookie year’s.
Don’t get me wrong, the over-coverage of him is annoying, but his over-coverage goes in a far different category than Michael Sam’s. Manziel is more comparable to Brett Favre. I hated the retirement talk for three consecutive Summer’s, but would watch just about every snap he played. His 2009 season with the Vikings, is still one of the most exciting individual season’s that I’ve ever watched.
Obviously Favre had accomplished more in the NFL than Manziel has, but Manziel is a rookie. He was overhyped after a Heisman season and a tumultuous offseason coming into last year, but we all still watched every snap he played, because he is an extremely fun player to watch. And he didn’t exactly let us down.
If he turns into a bust, it might take a few years, but he’ll be sitting next to Tim Tebow on the SEC Network, and won’t be opening up Sportscenter, despite what he does with his free time.
Sam is a special case. Let me begin by saying that I’m completely in favor of gay rights. Like, really in favor. But Sam was a seventh round pick. I understood the original hype about him being the first openly gay player in the NFL, but his over-coverage, by no fault of his own, held back equality for anyone in the LGBT community. If we want anyone gay to have equal treatment in our society, then we shouldn’t treat them or cover them any differently than any other player. Sam got treated differently. He was a seventh-round pick, and was covered throughout training camp like he was a top five pick. ESPN is a little more concerned about prostituting players and making money than they are about equality, though.
Either way, both Sam and Manziel have their reasons for being over-covered. As annoying as it is, as long as people watch Sportscenter, it isn’t going to stop. The players and the stories will vary slightly, but the general premise will be the same.
So why would we want Coleman to get that type of coverage? You can’t tell me that you haven’t sometimes rooted against Sam or Manziel just because you want to hear a different story when you turn on the TV. Do we want to feel that way about someone who has overcome being deaf to make it to the NFL? I really don’t.
And if Sam being gay “doesn’t affect him on the field” (probably not entirely the case), why would we want to have Coleman over-covered just for being deaf? I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but he obviously overcomes being deaf to play, so what more do we really need to hear about him? He deserves the attention he has gotten, but we don’t need to beat it to death, either. I’m sure Coleman doesn’t want to be looked at as different than anyone else, so why treat him like that? Because he is a Superbowl champion? So was Chris Maragos. So was Robert Turbin. Both of them were more integral parts of a Superbowl team than Coleman was, and we don’t hear about them on a constant basis just because “they are on the defending Superbowl champions.”
I think whatever person made this meme, missed the point he was trying to make. Johnny Manziel is a must-watch player (at least he was in college), whose off the field antics have been covered more than his ability to play football. Sam is a borderline NFL player, who likely won’t be in the league five years, and people are annoyed that he gets more coverage than other average players because of his sexuality, not his play. So Derrick Coleman, who is a below-average player at a position that the average fan knows very little about, should be the next player jammed down our throats? Right…..