We all know that the media is a big part of sports and news. Without them, we would have a hard time finding out the latest news on our favorite sports teams and players. They play a big role in providing millions of fans entertainment and inside scoops on sports, such as who is leading the standings in the NHL, who has been traded by the Toronto Blue Jays, or even more personal stuff such as what athletes do away from the game. Like when the New England Patriots won the 2019 Superbowl and Tom Brady and Julian Edelman went do Disney World for a few days before their celebratory parade. These are some of the fun things that the media does to provide fans with better entertainment, but what happens when the media tries to make a story even if it hurts an athlete’s reputation, or is not completely true?
In early March of 2019, Morgan Reilly who is a defense-man for the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs was accused of saying a homophobic word directed at a referee for a missed call. Mr. Reilly never received a penalty for this during the game by the official. Later on that night, clips from the video footage were posted on different social media pages were supposedly indicating that Mr. Reilly uttered a homophobic slur towards the official, Brad Meier. With the overnight attraction and popularity this gained, the NHL was forced to launch an investigation into the issue where they interviewed several participants from the game including Mr. Reilly and Mr. Meier. After interviewing everyone that was assumed to be involved, all, including official Mr. Meier, denied that Mr. Reilly said an offensive word. From this, the league dismissed this acquisition and stated that behavior like this would not be tolerated.
Although Mr. Reilly was dismissed and was never fined or suspended, the media outlets that decided to post this video clip without knowing if Mr. Reilly had indeed say this homophobic slur could have cost him up to $10,000 in fines and up to a 2 game suspension. This shows how much the media carefully edit sport representations to highlight dramatic action.
One study that was done to see how much the media affects sports showed that the relationship between the media and sports serves to increase the power of the media and to change professional sports. It showed that the media affects almost all aspects of sports such as financing, rule changes, player salary’s and much more. With their power to manipulate footage, clips and pictures can be served to the public in the way they wanted to pursue them. With the more views they get and public support, the more power they hold over professional sports and news.
Featured image: Morgan Rielly addressing media after being cleared by the NHL (Cole Burston/Canadian Press)