Best Blog Assignment

The two articles that I have chosen fulfill the objective requirements well.

Jokepedia engages the audience with a video and humor throughout the article. It references the class activities and incorporates the theme throughout the article and connects it to current events.

Raising Awareness for the Cause shows an ability to connect with an audience by using traits of spreadability, with an emotional story and yet some humor at the beginning. It applies well to the class by connecting the problem to a technological change, with selling the artistic cleats with proceeds going to charity.

They both exhibit traits of emotional spreadability, whether through a serious charity or through the humor of internet goers. They are also very much talking about real issues, at least for sports fans, that people can connect to and want to talk about.

They show the best of my writing because they really flow with the course materials. I feel like in some of my posts, I tried too hard to incorporate the weekly reading, but with these it all seemed to have a good flow. They were also just two of the ones that I just felt confident about after I wrote them and they seemed to be fairly easy to write as I was writing them.

Hiatus

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Raising Awareness for the Cause

As most people should know, October is breast cancer awareness month. The NFL has always done an extravagant showing of support by drowning the game in pink.

Image result for nfl pink games

The players wear pink cleats, pink gloves, and pink towels and even the coaches get in on the pink.

Image result for bill belichick during october

Okay, some of them do.

Image result for nfl coaches breast cancer awareness

I guess that’ll work.

But in all seriousness, the NFL has really pushed breast cancer awareness to the max in the past few years. That actually changed this year. When Devon Still, a Bengals defensive lineman, almost lost his daughter last year to neuroblastoma, he exchanged letters with the NFL commissioner and in one of his letters he asked for a change in the NFL exposure. He asked for the NFL to expand beyond just breast cancer and start bringing awareness to all forms of cancer.

The NFL’s choice could not have waited much longer. They had been criticized of just “pinkwashing” the game instead of actually doing something to bring awareness. The NFL is using this change to also push for more education to go along with the funding. This education is key to keeping a successful campaign and truly raise awareness. This awareness is what could have really helped the #icebucketchallenge. Most of the videos of the #icebucketchallenge, “contain(ed) (little) substantive information about the disease.” The NFL is trying to change this culture of just give money and everything will be taken care of, they are taking action and trying to educate people on how to take action.

“A Crucial Catch.” That is what the NFL is calling their efforts. Many of the players are using their platforms to express what they believe in using the hashtag #MyCauseMyCleats. Many, if not all, of these cleats will be auctioned off and all proceeds will be donated to their “A Crucial Catch,” program which distributes the money to a variety of avenues, including the American Cancer Society along with grants to communities across the United States that need cancer education the most.

The NFL is trying to improve; they are trying to get people educated, but is it enough to get people behind their cause, or do they need to continue to change and improve?

 

 

 

The Thin White Line

The higher you climb, the farther you fall. This preceding quote is something that many people in the NFL should know by heart. The following video shows just how little people seem to care:

For those that have not been informed of this situation, the former offensive line coach of the Miami Dolphins, he resigned after this video, can be seen visibly snorting a line of some white substance. This video ruined his 25-year career.

This story blew up because every sports nerd wanted to talk about the coach that did a line of coke. His life was ruined, although it may be his fault for doing it, and we all got something to talk about, we got to be a part of the “in” crowd. That social currency that Berger talks about, is something that we were able to brag about knowing before other people.

There are many more players that have made big mistakes. This makes sense because they make the real money and they are the ones more in the spotlight. A few notable instances are Adrian Peterson with child abuse accusations and Ray Rice with video evidence beating his then girlfriend, now wife.

These two athletes made their mistakes and have since given back to their communities, but both took huge falls. Ray Rice was once one of the premier running backs, but after the video surfaced, he was kicked off the team and despite multiple attempts, has not played a down in the NFL. Adrian Peterson took a suspension and honestly just hasn’t gotten back to his top playing form since all of this happened.

Football players, just like the rest of us make mistakes, the problem is that they get caught much easier. Whether that’s a coach doing a line of drugs or dragging your girlfriend out of an elevator after knocking her out, it doesn’t take long for the news to get out, even when they have really embarrassing reasons for being in the news. While these are all on public records, so it’s all fair game, it does make me wonder where is the line of people reporting too much and overstepping the people’s rights?

 

 

 

The Line of Aggravation

A lot of talk has been had about recent happenings in the NFL regarding the national anthem. I haven’t heard a much, if any, about how change is happening because of this stand (or rather kneel) that people are taking.

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Now, I don’t know about you, but the only thing that is happening is a disagreement on the semantics. No one is saying anything about the real cause (Have you noticed that I haven’t stated the cause and that’s because I had forgotten the exact reason).

This has gotten big enough that a huge number of people have started boycotting the games. This includes the vice president who walked out of the Colts game before it started because players took a knee. All this boycotting has gotten back to the owners which forced them to have a meeting between players and owners about social issues yesterday.

At one point there was talk that the owners might start banning players from taking a knee, to which most people replied that that was against the first amendment. The problem with this argument is that the NFL is a private entity. In the same way that Twitter can ban users, the NFL can set up rules that prevent their company from things that they would deem slanderous to their brand.

The thing that I really question is what the player’s real motives are. I’ve heard of one instance of a player actually going out of his way to make change happen and the only reason that I heard about it was because I was watching Thursday night football and it was mentioned in a two second blurb that I ended up remembering. Eagles’ defensive end, Chris Long, is showing the rest of the NFL how a consummate professional should behave. He put his money where is mouth is and has taken to donating 6 paychecks to form scholarships for students in Charlottesville, while his other 10 games are being donated to equality education. Unlike everyone else who is “protesting,” he’s actually doing something about it. He’s set to donate all of his $1 million base salary this season. Since I’m a numbers guy, I looked up the salary, for this year alone, of 5 of the players that took a knee and it totaled $60.5 million (All salary numbers taken from Spotrac).

I talk all the time on this blog that players have a great platform that they choose to use to change the world, but this protest is making me question it a decent amount. They have millions of followers and millions of dollars that they could use to help advance their cause, but they instead choose to follow a crowd of people in doing something that is plainly not working, it’s pissing people off and changing the conversation from what they are trying to have it on. Obviously there is a problem in the US and a problem with how they are protesting the problem, but the question is what is going to fix the problem?

 

People Who Live in Money Houses Shouldn’t Throw Fire Stones

For this blog post we are tasked with following simple steps from one of 6 challenges from a podcast series titled “Bored and Brilliant.” I chose to do the 6th challenge, titled Dream House.

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In this challenge, there are 4 steps: bore yourself, empty your wallet, build a “house” out of the contents, name and location of the house. I have detailed how this entire experience went, including “fun” (frustrating) pictures.

1. Boring Myself

For this task, we were challenged with writing alternating 1’s and 0’s on a small piece of paper in order to bore us out of our minds. I chose to use a note card, well eventually half a note card, but that’s a fun story coming up soon.

Thirty seconds in and I was already rushing and trying to finish, even though I knew that I had plenty of time in front of me. After another thirty seconds, I find myself with plenty of holes opening up and I am slightly aggravated that I know I will have to go back and fill them in. A few moments later, I realize I and now writing 10’s instead of alternating 1’s and 0’s. I then find myself writing much sloppier, with bigger text, and even just caring less when I make a mistake and instead pretty much just scribbling the entire time. It’s been about 5 minutes and I look at what I have completed and realize that I hate everything and just want to get on with it, so I decide to fold it in half, so that I complete it in a timely manner. I get near the end of the half card and find myself completing how many more rows I have to gauge how much more time it will take. It was only 3 more lines and I was so glad to almost be done. After I quickly finish, I drop the pen and stretch out after that fun little task. Here’s the finished product:

pic 1

From looking at this, I noticed quite a few things. First, I noticed that my OCD along with my bad habit of 10’s meant that every line started with 1 and ended with 0. Also, all my numbers got bigger from top to bottom and from left to right. Finally, after the fact, I find myself realizing that I missed the point of this, but I’m not going to complain, because I am happy with the results.

2. Empty My Wallet

This task is pretty straight forward, but here are the contents of my wallet.

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Firstly, yes that is my driver’s license and yes that is likely an accurate representation of how I felt after the first task. Secondly, I had way too many one dollar bills from freshmen paying me back nearly exclusively in singles. Lastly, so that may not be the entirety of my wallets, I did cheat slightly because I chose not to include my debit card or insurance card because of the information that is on them.

3. Construct the House

This task was straight forward as well, it was using the contents as building blocks for the house. Here is the process that occurred:

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With the folding of the cash, I chose to try to make a square out of the dollars to make the structure. I thought about making these the rooms and putting others right around it, but first I was going to make a second floor.

2

After a frustrating few minutes, I was finally able to get the second floor done and able to not fall down. Now I wanted to make the second room close enough to the first room without knocking it down.

3

I was able to get the first part of it and decided to just leave it far enough away so if one fell, both wouldn’t fall, but now it was time for the second floor.

4

It’s okay, I’m not mad (see license picture again). I thought about and tried a different method and made floors by straightening dollars.

5

It worked a lot better and didn’t cause anger, so win-win. Now it was putting the finishing touches on it.

Final image

I put the ceilings on and put in a nice driveway with some sort of nice landscaping around it and a nice dog house for a cute puppy to grow into.

4. Name and State the Location

This step is probably the most straight forward, but also probably the hardest for me, creativity is a lot of work. I honestly could not think of a name, I tried for about 10 minutes thinking, but I am terrible with making decisions like this because I hate being responsible for something that could easily be torn apart and made fun of for how it is named (naming my children is going to be a blast). As for the location, I would want it to be someplace with no neighbors that close, with plenty of land for the dog and eventually children to play. As for climate, honestly, I feel like someplace similar to Indiana would be fine, as long as it doesn’t get too hot, I should be fine, I can handle the cold fairly well.

To wrap everything up, I would just say that I was actually fairly surprised with my final product, it wasn’t perfect, but with the materials that I had, I was happy with how I finished.

Troll Response

As has been stated many times on this blog, athletes have a huge presence on social media. Their respective teams also have huge followings and are just as visible and just as vulnerable to being trolled as the players.

Image result for sports trolls

This tweet by EA Sports shows the lighter side of trolling in the sports world. The problem is most are much worse and honestly just quite ruthless. Most athletes choose to ignore them, but it becomes difficult when there are so many followers and so many people that have nothing better to do than harass the player.

One player that has been trolled a lot recently is Colin Kaepernick. If you are unfamiliar with that name he is the first football player to take a knee during the national anthem, so there’s a lot of conversation surrounding him currently. Before he got really famous, he actually was a starting quarterback in the NFL. When he tweeted about his workout, one particularly salty fan gave him a little mouth on twitter and unlike many trolling tweets, it got a response.

His response shows how an athlete can respond to trolling. It really is a risky move to try to fight back with a troll. The athlete has millions of followers and any false move can get them cut from a team and even publicly shamed, while the troll may be an entirely made up account that has 0 followers and was made purely to piss people off. From a Pew Research survey, one unnamed respondent said that the trolls have no negative kickback if they do something wrong or go too far. They have almost no social pressure to act maturely and do the right thing.

Athletes are put in a corner: on one hand they have to be very careful with everything that they say to avoid any unwanted media attention, but on the other hand, they are being publicly ridiculed and it’s only human to want to fight back and keep your name in the right.

These athletes are held to a higher standard because they have a brand that others and themselves want to sell, but with all this public harassing, is it really worth it, is it really something that the normal person could handle?

Jokepedia

Sports are all over the news, so there’s bound to be some fake news that appears every once in awhile. Sometimes that news is harmful and sometimes that news is just downright hilarious. Such as the following picture:

Following his amazing play as the US goalkeeper during a national game, in which he was credited with making 16 saves in a losing effort, people on the internet decided to have some fun and change up the secretary of defense’s wikipedia page and name him the new secretary.

This little change may seem like harmless fun to most of us, but it does show just how easy it is to change a “fact” on the internet. Wikipedia has come under a lot of scrutiny for how easy it is to edit their pages. It’s gotten so much attention that even Wikipedia has an article about Wikipedia’s reliability. This article briefly talks about how their editing process has pros and cons and then talks about how well they have done compared to other similar media sources; but really how reliable could that information be, it’s on Wikipedia.

Highlight moments spark fans interest in the various sports. When DeAndre Jordan dunked over Brandon Knight, these fans changed Brandon’s Wikipedia to say that he died from this massive dunk:

This is just one of the alterations that I was able to find on the first website in a quick google search of ‘athletes fake wikipedia pages.’ They are all over the internet and if something big happens, it’s only a matter of time before another athlete’s page is going to be altered. People want that attention, even if they don’t get the credit and it gets taken down quickly, they want the attention that it brings to be able to say you started that big joke that other people have seen, even if it didn’t go viral. The big problem comes with self-control. When does a small joke become something that affects other people?

Defamed or Exposed

Professional athletes are always in the center of the media. From their social medias being dissected to their words being misconstrued, they are under a microscope and held almost to a higher standard than the rest of the population.

Image result for nfl player controversy meme

This meme shows just how quickly a players actions are seen by millions of people and turned into a way to make fun of them for making the mistakes that they made. The actions that many of these athletes and contributors have made are really bad and in no ways condoned by anyone, but in the same way, their mistakes and problems do not need to be spread through to everyone in the world in the next 20 minutes.

The biggest problem with this quick reactions to drama in the lives of professional athletes comes when the news articles are not completely factual or even worse when they are flat-out lies. Fake news is becoming an epidemic and the sports world is not safe from the infection. In an article by Stephen Armstrong, he talks about how, “80% of students couldn’t tell the difference between a real news story and a fake.” This lack of discernment becomes really concerning. If no one knows the difference between real and fake, then there is going to be so much fake news retweeted, reblogged, and liked that even the most aware people will have so much useless information that they will not easily be able to tell what is fake and what is real.

In this real/fake dilemma, there is not really much that an onlooker can do, because once it has begun being spread, it’s only a matter of time before the thought is ingrained in everyone’s mind. One of the most high-profile cases of this is a lawsuit that many stars were involved, including Peyton Manning. The article talks about how many of the athletes chose to file a defamation lawsuit to try and clear their name of using banned performance-enhancing drugs. Even though this may have been a reputable news network, it shows just how quickly the media can grab a hold of information and spread it like a wildfire and also just how seriously these athletes are about their image.

Besides all of the slanderous actions that happen to the professional athletes, many are complaining about how little freedom they really have. In a Daily News article, Nathaniel Vinton details 5 separate cases of athletes suing the media because of infringements on their rights. The first story in the article explains a situation where one athlete had his medical records posted on a reporter’s social media. These bizarre and creepy stories beg the question of when does reporting cross the line between doing their job and creeping on someone’s life?

Athletes Can Be Intelligent?

Athletes, especially male athletes, have been portrayed fairly negatively throughout the media. Many movies and television stereotype any athlete as your typical dumb jock that only cares about his own looks and how hot his latest female conquest looks.

Image result for dumb jock meme

In a quick Google search, I was able to find a prime example of this portrayed in the meme above. Ryan Lochte, who is the Olympic swimmer pictured above, has been labeled as an airhead. This may have stemmed from his television show, which lasted a whole 8 episodes before being cut. In an ESPN article, the author referenced interviews with Ryan Lochte, family members, former teammates, and others close to him and tried to figure out who the real Ryan Lochte was. This article sheds light on just how fast one judgment can turn into an avalanche of hatred towards one person, usually unjustifiably and lacking many crucial facts.

The main problem is that millions upon millions of people follow all the star athletes and see all the good that they want to spread to the world, but they would rather listen to the opinions of some no-named troll.

By looking at some of the philanthropic and social efforts by big name stars, it can easily be seen just how smart athletes really are. This does not mean that they are all geniuses and could all get in to Harvard business school, but what it does mean, is that the majority of the really well-known athletes are extremely socially intelligent. They are aware of their stature in the minds of children and the general population.

In a Stanford study, students’ writing was analyzed and showed just how much propensity students show towards trying to change the world. The author highlights two things that relate to these professional athletes: “Writing is a way to get a sense of power,” and “Good writing changes something.” These athletes already have power due to their platform in front of the world and so they use that in their writing to change and better the world.

One of the most relevant and biggest showcase of power in this form is by the Houston Texans defensive lineman JJ Watt. From the devastation that has occurred in Houston because of Hurricane Harvey, he has gotten the entire country to rally behind Houston and at this point has raised over $32 million dollars just because he used his platform and started a donation page for the flood victims.

JJ Watt is not the only athlete to advocate for others. Many athletes are using their power to create change in the nation and in the world. In an AP News article, the author states that, these athletes know that they have the power to “encourag[e] [people] to get involved in social change.” They are using their platform to push the social norms and fight against the current social injustices. The world is changing and it is in part thanks to the intelligence of these well-known athletes using their power for improvement.