I understand completely that athletes have, in modern times, become celebrities along with actors and actresses and rock stars and the like. But there is a tradition in the entertainment realm of inviting the press to scrutinize the personal lives of stars. In the ‘30s and ‘40s, publicists would plant items that this actor was dating this actress. It was part of the game.
Granted, that dynamic has gone completely haywire today, and movie stars are harassed more often and sometimes more dangerously than ever before. Yet there has always been a clear sense that when you seek fame in Hollywood, you will have to give up some privacy, because it’s part of the deal, and your life away from the studio is considered newsworthy within that arrangement.
There is no such tacit agreement between the athlete and the public, and there never has been. There is no inherent understanding that the life of a famous professional athlete is officially an open book. Photographers staking out Gisele Bundchen’s apartment in order to catch Tom Brady coming out of it is a relatively new and disturbing phenomenon. Ditto for media hunkered down at Madonna’s place to see if A-Rod shows up.
And really, who cares anyway (which brings us back to the newsworthiness question)? There is little crossover interest in the juicy hybrid of entertainment star and sports hero. Those wrapped up in the entertainment world usually have little need or desire to hear about a sports star’s meanderings. Those consumed with sports care about batting averages and RBI, not who a guy is dating. If Madonna and A-Rod and Tom and Gisele had an foursome, it wouldn’t get nearly the attention that Brad and Angelina’s baby photos will receive.
I don’t really care who A-Rod is seeing, or how he does in his divorce. I care about whether he can get a hit in the postseason. Now that’s news.
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