Super Bowl week, a week of unrelenting media bombardment and hype. Stories of what might happen, what should happen, and commercials. Blows my mind that as a society we get wound-up over the idea of how well something is going to be pitched to us for our consumption. Then again, the commercials are sometimes more entertaining than the game. Super Bowl Sunday has become a part of our national fabric. And this year is no different, except for a story that broke on Tuesday regarding Performance Enhancing Drugs. Sort of makes me feel like it is cycling season. However, this time names like Alex Rodriguez and Ray Lewis, and a bunch of other “mainstream” athletes are tied to the story.
Here we sit on Friday, and not a word of the story. It was a story for 24 hours, then it was simply swept away or ignored…48 hours later hardly a peep. And the response from Ray Lewis to the media in New Orleans, well it sounded a lot like other comments we have heard from other high-profile athletes over the years. It was all a bit ironic, the face of the sport, on the sports biggest stage, with a world-wide audience, denying, minimizing the story and ultimately turning the spot-light onto the accusers, their motivations and their credibility. Love irony, just love it.
As we reach the end of the week, irony has brought clarity – the NFL is too big to fail. Same goes for MLB. A-Rod and Ray Lewis are marquee players, faces of their sport, and no one cares about what they did or did not do when it comes to PEDs. It is so clear what is valued and what is not. Marion Jones cheated and lied; she went to prison. Lance cheated and is literally and figuratively only beginning to paying the price. Ray Lewis, A-Rod, Bonds, Clemens, or any of the others in the NFL or MLB…not a dime. Nothing. It is another moment of clarity.
Now the real irony is the fact that one of the government’s reasons for going after Lance is because of the US Postal Service sponsorship of the cycling team. The positive press the US Postal Service received for those years was absolutely massive. It was a marketing coup and might represent one of the best advertising investments in the history of marketing, yet the government feels they were a victim of fraud. The US Postal Service has had two other positive moments in its entire history before the cycling team, the Pony Express and “neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow”. Gotta love irony.
Clearly, like everyone else in the country, I will be watching the Super Bowl Sunday. Well, after I get back from my bike ride that is…