I am not sure when I first noticed sex on the sports pages. The relationship between sex and sports has been a gradual development. When I was a kid following sports you hardly ever heard more than a whisper about the personal sex lives of famous athletes. Today, nothing is out of bounds as far as sports journalism goes. But, I am not talking about that. What I am referring to is the phenomenon of swimsuit issues of Sports Magazines. Apparently, ESPN the Magazine is going further and planning a fall issue of naked athletes with their private parts covered by sports equipment. This is what I am talking about. Why you can't watch a sports show on FOX without the Sports Babes. Why you have polls asking you to pick the sexiest female sports commentator, who, by the way, is on the sidelines while the men are in the studio or doing the play by play up in the stands. Why you have one such female sports sideline journalist who was voted the sexiest secretly videotaped in her hotel room and then had her image flashed around the internet. There was a howl of protest from the swimsuit publication and ESPN, her employer, and FOX (FOX even showed the video as it professed shock over it). Seems more than a tad hypocritical for these purveyors of sex and sports, doesn't it?
Now I understand the need for ad revenue in these recessionary times. I know that internet usage has cut into subscription sales. And the biggest audience for sports consumption is young adult males. Sex sells, and so does beer and beefy trucks. For the older male sports consumer there are Viagra ads which are so nauseatingly annoying to sit through after the millionth time you are reminded of what can happen when the little viagra pill goes wrong. (And what father worth his salt, who is enjoying a ballgame with his son, does not fumble for the mute button when he sees those cute little tubs come on?) I have to say I am pretty sick of it. I know modern day sports has been tainted by obscene amounts of money, and PEDs and huge egos but I have kept watching and reading and following my teams for the love of the games. But, I think I am at the end of my rope. I do not get the swimsuit issue but other issues and their website find creative ways to promote it. I still get the magazine (SI) but they have lost both of their good journalists to the internet and/or cable and they continue to ramp up the sex and tamp down the sports so that I won't renew it. I never did get ESPN the Magazine because it was bold and flashy and its sports reporting was just bold and flashy and it's cable programming has become so self important (more important than the games they are reporting) it is painful to watch. I still watch the Mariners games on cable but mostly muted. I like the play by play announcers but I am afraid of what I may do if I have to hear another ED ad. I can still remember the joy I felt when I got the days mail and there was my copy of Sports Illustrated (SI) or the best sports publication of all time which was just called Sport because that's all it was about. Those days are long gone. Now, I treasure the mute button.