|The dark side of technology and sports|
|Written by Kevin Orris, Daily Vidette Sports Columnist|
|Wednesday, 08 February 2012 15:20|
Often times when discussing new technologies in today’s society, we focus on the positives that have come from them. More rapid innovation, organization, and efficiency have all come from this generation of computers and, more specifically, the Internet. We rarely discuss the harm that technology may cause the individuals that make up our society.
Especially in sports.
Nearly seven years ago, Gawker Media and then editor-in-chief Will Leitch launched Deadspin.com, a sports culture website that would go on to change the reputation of hundreds of athletes, coaches, agents, various sports personalities, and entire companies.
Some may argue that the site has done great things for sports.
Many feel that it is responsible for the uprising of sports blogging and has forced ESPN and other media giants to take a less biased approach toward many news stories that may have previously been untold.
When the site first started, they had few connections in the sports industry, but anonymous tips of athletes embarrassing themselves in public would flood its inbox.
For years, the site created a community of sports fans looking for coverage beyond the games themselves. In 2005, the site first reported that Seattle Mariners outfielder Matt Lawton tested positive for steroids — a first for the sports blogging community.
For a while, the users got their wish. That is, until Leitch left for a position at New York Magazine. It was then that A.J. Daulerio took the reins.
It’s not that Daulerio has received tips different than those provided to Leitch, rather, he has decided to pursue different content.
Instead of poking fun at athletes and their fan bases on the occasional basis, the site began exploiting them.
In recent years, the site has focused on scoops like the Erin Andrews peephole video, Brett Favre’s inappropriate pictures, and furthered public embarrassment for athletes.
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton may have been exploited more than anyone else to this point.
Hamilton was the No. 1 pick in the 1999 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, but ultimately missed multiple seasons due to drug and alcohol addiction. He was later reinstated by Major League Baseball and debuted with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007.
One year later he was traded to the Texas Rangers. In 2009, Daulerio released photos of a shirtless Hamilton at an Arizona State University watering hole with many college-aged females. To this day, the photos have been viewed more than 1.7 million times on Deadspin alone. In fact, their total hits since the site first started in 2005 is nearing 800 million.
What no one realized in 2005 was that the reputations of athletes all over the world would be changed forever. While it’s no secret that many people enjoy gossip and drama, who thought it would ever translate to sports? Had Deadspin never existed, stories of Josh Hamilton’s recent relapse last week would have never attracted the attention they have.
Instead of debating Hamilton’s upcoming season or his two consecutive World Series appearances with the Texas Rangers, fans have been fretting about the relapse of his alcohol addiction after he was spotted with multiple drinks last week.
Early Wednesday morning, ESPN.com published a story about Shayne Kelley, a major league staff assistant, recently hired by the Texas Rangers to help support Hamilton.
Within an hour of publication, the story already boasted more than 70 comments. With that being said, do we really need this? If we’ve come this far in seven years, imagine what will happen in another seven.
Athletes now manage Facebook and Twitter accounts and continue to put their day-to-day actions in the public eye.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe they brought it on themselves.