“Sports Celebrity” became an accepted culture during the 1980’s and has developed into a “commodity traded by the promotions, publicity and media industries (Turner 2004 9)” ever since. The commodity of the sports celebrity is of an individual nature that has many branches and one of those off shoots is the moral worth of the sports celebrity.
The decline in a sportman’s moral worth can occur for a variety of reasons; substance abuse, bad behaviour, cheating and so on. The recent Lance Armstrong doping scandal is a good example. Armstrong was once a revered cyclist and now “his reputation is in tatters, the cycling victories that made him a legend are wiped away, and the sponsors that gave him enormous wealth have fled faster than a downhill race to a finish line (Levs 2012).” The decline in Armstrong’s personae has become a focus of headlines due to his apparent cheating.
Whannel (2009 205-218) agrees, that it is the “indescretions and misdemenours of their private lives that become the focus of headlines.” Hence, Armstrong’s huge indescretions on doping. Additionally, Summers and Morgan (2008 181) said, “Negative media and crisis situations in sport are inevitable…” If it wasn’t Armstrong featuring in sports headlines, it would be someone else.
The decline of a sportsman’s individual celebrity status is due to his indescretions regarding inappropriate moral personal choices. The indescretions that are deemed morally inappropriate by the sportsman’s audience and consequently, the media report these indescretions. It is the reportage of the sports celebrity that helps build their career or is the demise of their career.
Levs, Josh. Lance Armstrong’s epic downfall. Hong Kong, CNN, 2012. Web. Oct 22.
Summers, Jane and Melissa Johnson Morgan. “More than just the media: Considering the role of public relations in the creation of sporting celebrity and the management of fan expectations.” Public Relations Review 34 (2008): 176-182. Print.
Turner, Graeme. Understanding Celebrity. London, Sage, 2004. Print.
Whannel, Garry. “Television and the Transformation of Sport.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of political and Social Science. London, Sage, 2009. Print.