The easiest thing to write at the time I’m sitting down to do this would be to launch into a rant about Shannon Sharpe versus the Memphis Grizzlies. I wouldn’t even really have to think about it. Sharpe starting a Twitter fight from his courtside seats says it all in the headline. However, I’m stuck because the New York Times dropped a report about Fox Sports allegedly paying a $400 million or thereabouts bribe to FIFA for the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. (According to NYT: During the first trial when allegations emerged, the company denied any knowledge, calling any suggestion to the contrary “emphatically false.”)
What we care about isn’t necessarily what we want to consume. It’s not a bad thing. Little shit like a retired tight end trying to fight Ja Morant’s dad/Usher impersonator is what gets us through the day. Who doesn’t like to turn off their brain, and just laugh at a TV screen?
Whatever weird happenings in the universe that set off the chain of events leading to Shannon Sharpe having words with the entire Memphis Grizzlies roster and extended family have happened much more frequently after the rise of the internet.
There’s new dumb shit to look at online every day. That’s basically what my job is, and that’s why I’m less and less impressed by the next feud, the next meme, the next whatever.
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Ultimately, what transpired at Staples Center on Friday night doesn’t affect us. Other than maybe my coworker who has to get up early Monday morning to cover Undisputed and write about Sharpe’s recollection of the altercation.
However, FIFA’s corruption plays a big enough role in the lives of sports fans that we should give that story as much attention as the superfluous stuff. The Qatar World Cup was a human rights disaster, and I’m not just talking about Alexi Lalas’ commentary. I know a few extra click-throughs on a story about how shitty FIFA isn’t going to topple their regime. However, letting pressing issues slide is how power goes unchecked. FIFA isn’t going to audit itself.
The grossest part about working in media is seeing what and how society consumes content. It’s a holy shit moment once you realize how many people are just checking out and passing the time watching someone make a pizza casserole. And honestly, I don’t blame them. If my options are to try to care about every injustice on the planet or plug myself into the Matrix, I’m picking the Matrix.
The weight of the earth’s suffering will break you if you try to bear it all. And that’s why we have distractions. Like sports feuds between TV personalities and a basketball player’s dad. What I’m saying — if I’m saying anything at all and not just filling dead space with text — is that you should care about injustice and social issues and all of that stuff way more than shiny objects on Instagram.
The silly stuff will all still be there. I promise you, the internet will never run out of content. Find a balance though, and make sure you know what’s going on behind a headline or the big news story of the day. There’s always wild news happening across the globe, and a lot of stories aren’t getting the coverage they deserve because the media is predicated on page views as currently constructed.
Newsrooms and outlets are still getting slashed, and I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not live in a world ruled by influencers.