Stories of sportsmanship are too often pushed aside by the waves of negative news that seem to dominate sports coverage. With steroids, cheating referees, greedy superstars, teams cutting staff because of economic troubles and athletes being arrested, the list of negative news goes on and on.
People get tired of hearing their favorite players cheat. No one cares how much money Manny Ramirez and Anquan Boldin want. People realize Adam "Pacman" Jones is a criminal. Fans know Terrell Owens tears apart team chemistry. What we don't know enough about are the good things going on in sports.
Too much media attention is focused on these negative subjects, and not enough coverage is focused on positive stories, such as Clemson basketball player Tanner Smith's charity, Tanner's Totes. This charity helps preteens and teenagers suffering from cancer. Tanner came up with this idea in fourth grade when the class was assigned a "three wishes" project. Tanner's third wish was "to make kids with cancer laugh."
ESPN.com had this inspirational story as the lead story for less than a day before it was buried behind the latest steroid scandal developments and Manny wanting more money from the Dodgers.
Most fans are sick of steroids coverage, but these stories end up on the front page for days at a time. The media squeezes these stories for all they are worth and then some. Why can't a touching story such as Tanner's be covered more in-depth?
Another example of a great sports story came in a high school basketball game on Feb. 7, as reported on ESPN.com. Milwaukee Madison high school basketball team was playing in DeKalb, Ill.
A Madison player showed up late to the game because he had been at the hospital where his mother had just passed away from cancer. According to the rules, a technical foul had to be called against Madison so they could put this player in the game.
The foul was called, and a DeKalb player stepped to the free throw line. He took the shot, but it only went about two feet in front of him. He repeated this action on his next shot as well. The DeKalb player said he did this out of respect for the player who had just lost his mother. Even though DeKalb ended up losing the game, the players learned a valuable lesson about respect and sportsmanship.
The media doesn't have to stop covering negative stories altogether, but they should stop running every little detail about these stories. Steroids, for example, got very old very quickly. Reporting Alex Rodriguez took steroids is fine. It's good journalism and fans need to know. But running a front-page story every time he changes his mind about where he got the steroids and who gave them to him is overkill and causes fans to lose interest.
In the always-changing world of sports, there is enough to report without running topics into the ground. Instead of taking the easy way out and reporting every little detail of a big-time scandal, sports reporters need to keep their eyes open and look a little harder for a positive story every once in a while.