The League

Robert Littal
National Blogger

Robert Littal

CEO of Black Sports Online which brings the truth in sports.

Taking the good with the bad

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The WWE's Wrestlemania took place over the weekend and it had a classic match between the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Had me reminiscing about my youth when I watched wrestling religiously.

One of the main components of wrestling that keeps the audience engaged is the defined roles of the wrestlers.

Faces - The good guys

Heels - The bad guys

(FYI I have always been partial to the heels, I have a little bad boy in me.)

Vince McMahon decides who the faces and heels are in his organization, but in regards to the NFL, the mainstream media labels the "good" and "bad" franchises.

If you did a quick poll of 100 people and asked them which franchise they would consider the "troublemaking" franchise and which franchise was the "model" franchise, I would bet money 90% would say the Bengals are the troublemakers. It's just the perception that is out there, but as we all know, perception isn't always reality.

What people need to understand is, 10 years ago a franchise like the Steelers would never have dealt with a Ben Roethlisberger or Santonio Holmes situation because it is unlikely it would have ever been reported. It could have been handled internally and the general public would have been kept out of the loop.

But in 2010, if an athlete even has a minor brush with the law, it will be on TMZ before their fingerprints are dry.

Does it mean the Steelers are any less of a franchise? Absolutely not. What it means is that the color of the helmet doesn't protect the person that is wearing it anymore. No one cares if it is a Dolphin, Steeler, Cowboy, Patriot, etc. If you have bad people on your team they will be exposed.

Even if they aren't bad people, if they make bad choices, they are going to be called out on them. If Tom Brady got a ticket for jaywalking tomorrow, it would be news. The days where all the criminals were on the Raiders and all the good family guys were on the Steelers are gone. Even back then that wasn't entirely true, but there was no way to prove otherwise.

The NFL is now a mix of cultures, races, social classes and religions making it impossible to say one franchise is better than another.

In 2010 the one thing that everyone should be aware of is we don't know any of these athletes well enough to say they are a good guy or a bad guy.

Don't let the media manipulate you.

I guarantee you if you went to those same 100 people you talked to earlier and asked them who is a better person, Terrell Owens or Ben Roethlisberger, the majority would say Roethlisberger. That speaks to how much the WWE-style of sports media coverage can affect even the most logical fan.

For the record, the Undertaker won his match against Shawn Michaels, and even though he was the heel, he was cheered. Maybe only wrestling fans understand that some athletes are "acting".

By Robert Littal  |  March 30, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  | Category:  Ben Roethlisberger , Crime , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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TMZ has changed everything for celebrities.

Buy you're right. Back in the day, Big Ben never would have even had to deal with an investigation.

A lot has changed, and Pro Athletes need to recognize that. Both Tiger and Dorell Wright got a quick lesson on electronic media in the past two months.

Enjoy your website as well, hope to see more of you here on WaPo

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