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April 23, 2012 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Nothin’ But Net – The Celebrification of Athletes

Everyone has someone they put on a pedestal.

That person may be an actor, a politician, an athlete, a Salient columnist (hint hint) or any other kind of figurehead that you would get kind of excited about if you bumped into them on the street.

Really, there’s nothing wrong with heaping this kind of adulation onto someone you have probably never met. It’s human nature: insert something about tribes, respect, leadership, survival and evolution or something here.

I know I’m going to sound fairly clichéd here, but we live in a society where someone can get famous and earn a shitload of money for being able to run fast, hit someone or throw a ball in a particularly skilled manner.

We revere our athletes perhaps a bit much for what they can do. If I got a girlfriend, that wouldn’t make the national news bulletin (well, it might…) yet look at the press Sonny Bill got for his stint with some lady (I mentioned SBW: drink).

The results of this are fairly obvious. People do what their icons do. Don’t believe me? Watch a kids’ soccer game. The handshakes are an integral part of the game, and it’s cool because the big boys on TV do it. Conversely, diving and arguing with the ref over trivial bullshit are also both prevalent.

A good mirror of society is the people we admire. These guys are placed on pedestals because we love watching the fruits of their hard work and take an interest in their lives as a result. Remember what I said about captains a couple of weeks ago? This is something similar.

That’s also why the social checks placed on them are all the more intense. Tiger Woods learned this the hard way, but even Zac Guildford’s media lampooning for something pretty common in New Zealand society is an indicator of this.


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