ITHACA, N.Y. (MEDIA GENERAL) – Consider this: The NFL draft ended May 2. Starting Friday, some teams will be holding their post-draft rookie training camp. So, how does the NFL stay in the news between the end of the draft and the start of training camp?
Stephen Mosher, Ithaca College Sports Management and Media professor, said releasing the report on “Deflategate” only helps the league. He explained by releasing the report when it did, the NFL made sure to stay in the news and on top of the minds of the public despite it being an off week.
Mosher grew up in Boston and went to the Boston Patriots’ first game. He now teaches ethics and how they pertain to sports. He’s pretty clear on one thing: Do not expect ethics in professional sports.
Patriots and Pacquiao
Just this past week, it was revealed two Patriots employees violated rules covering game balls, and that quarterback Tom Brady was “at least generally aware” of the plans to doctor the footballs.
We also learned after what’s been deemed “the biggest payday in sports,” Manny Pacquiao is being sued for failing to disclose a shoulder injury. Pacquiao lost his boxing match to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a unanimous decision and has since had shoulder surgery. Mayweather has already agreed to a possible rematch which no matter how Pacquiao’s lawsuits end up would make both men a lot more money.
Money, Money, Money
“The goal of the entertainment enterprises is to make as much money as possible,” said Mosher. It’s that simple. While it may be hard for parents to explain to their kids how big time athletes break the rules, it’s also been going on since the beginning of professional sports.
“All teams, all players at the professional level are trying to game the system,” said Mosher. “The Patriots probably stepped over that incredibly fuzzy line that’s a mile wide.”
In the end, Mosher said, it’s really “much ado about nothing… This is just a bunch of boys being boys doing things boys do.” He said linemen put Vaseline on their jerseys, and receivers put sticky stuff on their gloves. Everyone at the professional level pushes the rules.
Real Ethical Debates
Mosher explained there are real ethical issues that should be considered and that really matter. The NFL’s concussion scandal has a serious impact on players. And, he points out, hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are used to build professional sports stadiums around the country including in embattled Baltimore.
“Imagine if the $750 million used to help build the Ravens and Orioles stadiums were used to rebuild Baltimore’s cities,” said Mosher. Now, that’s a real debate about ethics he said is worth having.
For now, Mosher said the audience is so fragmented, watching specific channels for specific sports, it’s hard to get their attention without pushing boundaries.
“We’re in the age of spectacle. As long as the spectacle draws the audience, ethics takes a back seat,” concluded Mosher.