Monday, October 21, 2013

Should Journalists Celebrate the Violence?

A semi-retired sports journalist from the Washington Post wrote that he has one regret after 40 years of covering football: "not focusing more of my reporting and writing on the absolute brutality of the sport, particularly the painful post-football lives of so many players."

While the NFL players settled a lawsuit against the NFL regarding serious injury brought on by game action and many journalists covered that case, journalists still tend to celebrate the violent actions that are common in football, like the massive hit in the video above (which won an ESPY and was seemingly on permanent loop for a while).

Should journalists govern their enthusiasm with episodes like this? Or should we show the clip over and over again, as that is what fans love?

Do we have an obligation to entertain or should we be cautioning people that for every massive tackle, there is someone being tackled?

23 comments:

Joe said...

I don't think you're ever going rein journalists in and get them to focus on what's right. In my opinion, what's right is not sensationalizing every story. In sports, that's glorifying the violence and feeding massive celebrity ego until they self-destruct (thinking of T.O. a few years back.) That stuff...it's never going to stop. So readers/viewers/fans need to "vote with their dollars" and take the higher road. When the sensational bullshit stops generating ad-dollars and people demand more thoughtful sports analysis, you'll stop seeing it. Something something David Foster Wallace eating candy vs. vegetables entertainment something.

This goes for all media...film, music, hard news, whatever. Sports seem especially important though in light of all the difficulty later in life these players have.

Vincent Bevivino said...

I think there is nothing wrong with Journalists celebrating big hits within the NFL. I think big hits are so engrained in the culture that there really is no looking back. We as viewers still watch things like "Man vs. Food" which glorify over-eating even though we know its extremely bad for you, if that analogy makes sense.

Julianne Johnson said...

While that hit almost made me sick to my stomach to watch, I think there's a place for it to be celebrated. Football would be nothing without the grittiness and toughness of players. If this play had caused an injury and still won an ESPY, I would say absolutely not. But as a comment above said, you have to take in the culture of football and realize that hits like Clowney's are exciting to fans because football is that thrillingly tough, hard-hitting sport everyone loves to watch.

Ashlee Mericle said...

When it comes to sports broadcasting, I really don't see journalists ever refraining from showing violence. In football, it is all about violence and hard-hitting tackles. Scouts look at defensive player's highlight tapes which show hard hit after hard hit. The harder the hits the player performs, the more likely they are to get signed. People wouldn't watch the NFL if it was flag football, would they? When a player makes a tackle, they celebrate, do their celebration dance, and their teammates come and high-five them and chest-bump. That is just how it is and always has been. In my opinion, journalists are going to continue to show this violence because if they don't, people aren't going to be interested.

Paige Calter said...

Personally, I'm not a football fan, and so I don't watch it or see the point of celebrating the violence, but from a journalist's perspective I can see why they would, because thats what sport's fans love to watch. I think a good example is hockey, I know some people who say the whole reason they watch hockey is simply for the fights. If the people want to see these types of things, and the journalist has an opportunity to report it, why shouldn't they? Ideally though, I think there should be a balance, if your going to report on clip that glorifies the violence, write another story on the trauma this can cause to the very same person being tackled.

Meghan Rosko said...

Journalists are unaware of the harmful affects the sport of football has on the players. Numerous cases of physical, emotional, and mental problems have become evident from violence of the sport. Journalists celebrating the tackles and hits during a football game are just reinforcing the violence of the game. Journalists are telling the public that it is okay to be violent.

Mark McCormick said...

It depends on the way violence should be embraced. Because sports like the UFC and NFL are violent sports, they should be discussed and embraced because that's what makes these sports exciting. Players don't want to get hit or hurt during games, but they know whats at risk when they're out there on the field or fighting in a match. Announcers are aware that embracing violence can be controversial, but if they didn't would anybody watch it? I don't think so.

Kevin Rowley said...

As a huge sports fan, I would find it kind of phony to not address the excitement in a hit like this. Sure, hard hits to the head have caused some serious health problems in former NFL players. But in Jadeveon Clowney's case, he made a very good, clean tackle. The reason it draws such a visceral reaction is exactly because it was legal. This is what football can be when played the right way. To not celebrate such a play means you shouldn't be covering the sport.

Ailin Zhang said...

I think it is right because it really happened. That is truth and it is journalists' obligation to show these truth to citizens!

Pat Krall said...

Journalist will always show this violence. How many sports fan will say, did you see that hit? POOR GUY THAT GOT HIT! No, they will say That dude is a monster and messed him up. We are entertained by the vicious hits that are apart of the sports culture. We will always crave massive hits and big plays.

Chris Abruzzo said...

Journalists will continue to show the violence from the games because football, especially, is a sport where violence is virtually unavoidable. It's the culture of the game. Journalists can go down different avenues as to how they may discuss it but at the end of the day it's still the truth. Violence did occur. The audience that football games draw enjoy big hits and praise the violent nature of the game, so shouldn't we as journalists remain loyal to our audience and show them these hits? You can argue that it is wrong to glorify it, and keep in mind that there is someone at the other end of that hit who received it, but that is the nature of the game.

Amanda White said...

It all comes down to what the audience likes and wants to watch. The media shows what the audience wants because that is what will get them views. I would not say the media is necessarily celebrating violence persay, but I would say they are going the extra mile to make sure the play was seen and known. Some people enjoy the violence and it is good tv. "Wow did you see that hit?" It stands out in the game and gets people talking. There is nothing wrong with a little replay but continuting to replay and reshow on highlights may be a little much. Show it, talk about it and be done with it.

Ashley Portillo said...

As a sports fan, a hit like this is very exciting to watch. This is good, entertaining football, and who wouldn't want to watch something like this take place? All the reactions from you, that guy sitting next to you, the crowd, the commentators is just excitement for football on television. However, I believe this is not "celebrating the violence." It's simply seeing a crucial play of the game that also happened to be entertaining to watch. Remember when Kevin Ware fell last basketball season? You know how many times people have viewed that video? Tons. Because weirdly enough, that is what people like to see.

Savannah Blake said...

I believe that their should be a balance between entertainment and reporting the negative side effects of the brutality of sports. After all, sports fans tune into to be entertained and enjoy a game that they love to watch, not be lectured about how dangerous it is. It's not like the players are unaware that their jobs involve a bit of rough housing. WIth that being said, journalists should not be glorifying these moments of violence. They should replay one or twice, possibly comment on the seriousness of the injury, then go on with the rest of the game.

Greg Frank said...

As a huge sports fan, this is a textbook hard hit by a great football player that deserves to be celebrated. There is nothing wrong with journalists glorifying the hit because there is no intent to injure. It's important for people who don't watch football to realize that though the Michigan running back loses his helmet there is no violent intent by Clowney and rather that in playing football everyone's risking injury or being on the wrong end of hits like this. But that doesn't mean that when such hits occur, we should turn a blind eye to them.

Ta'lor Walker said...

Football is a brutal sport and a vast majority of the fans love football because of that. I think journalist should show clips constantly because that's what football fans love. The aggressive hits are one of the most celebrated things in football and people love to see it, so why not show it? I understand that celebrating this could be cruel however, that comes with the sport and football players know what they sign up for.

Phylandra McFaddin said...

I don't think journalists are necessarily celebrating violence. They are more so "celebrating" football, which happens to be violent. I don't think people love football, because it is violent, but because it is just another sport. People love basketball, baseball, golf and tennis and it's not violent at all. Yes, there are violent tackles out there which can be entertaining to some. But over all, people love football as a whole, not for being violent, but to represent where they are from. Keep in mind, that I am not a sports fan so...

Don McDermott said...

I think this is a tough question, when it comes to football. Some people like that about the sport. They watch it for the hard hits and the physical style of play. They don't think that football "violence" really qualifies as violence at all. Personally, I think it does qualify, and I don't think journalists should glorify the violence. The problem is that I am allowing my own opinion to influence my decision. To look at it from an unbiased perspective is very hard. However, I do think that we as journalists can at least draw some sort of line. The play we were shown in class was very violent--the player's helmet flew about 10-15 yards. The two announcers, without waiting to see if the player was even going to get up, began shouting enthusiastically about the play. I think that was inexcusable. I remember watching a playoff game between the Steelers and Ravens a few years ago, and one of the Raven's running backs got hit so hard that he was unconscious on the field for almost twenty minutes, if I recall the time correctly. Some people thought he might actually have died from the hit. It was that scary. How did these two journalists know that this hit wasn't just as bad? Think about how terrible it would have been if they had celebrated the hit only to have the player die or become paralyzed because of the incident.

Marianna Morris said...

Our duty is ultimately with the citizens and their benefit. Football players are also citizens. They are being pressured to give big hits as it is what their audience revels in and thus increases viewership, numbers, and, most importantly, money. While it is not morally wrong to repeatedly air these hits, it's hardly responsible and fails to consider the repercussions of such gratification.

Andrew Vanech said...

First of all, that was the sickest hit I've ever seen. But in all seriousness, we as journalists should show footage like this. Hits like like could have effects of a long term injury or worse, career ending. To show this play will help bring about the issues of safety in college and professional football.

Janice Austin said...

Should Journalists celebrate it? NO. Should Journalists report it? YES.

Chengyang Yu said...

I agree with Janice Austin!!! Journalists can report it but shouldn't celebrate it!!!

Suchi Parikh said...

I agree with Janice Austin. Journalists should report injuries like that because they are warning the audience of what could happen. But it is nothing to celebrate! When reporting things like this, journalists have to be careful how they report it.