I was kind of struck by this article in the NY Times yesterday. Most of the controversy in international sport seems to stem from corruption at the highest levels of the organizations be it FIFA or the IOC. But, according to this article, athletes at the Pan Am Games in Brazil this summer will be banned from blogging. I find this kind of appalling as it entirely counters the history of sport as a form of entertainment. For no reason that I can deduce, this practice of banning blogging, which has spread to Rugby and the Olympics as well, only shortchanges the sports world (it’s few stars and billions of fans) in this digital age of increased interactivity and transparency.
Or, as a sports ethics researcher says in the article, “The danger is that no real discussion about events on and off the sports field can take place, reducing us to millions of passive sports-consuming robots.â€
Some obvious examples point out the idiocy of this policy. Politicians now engage with their constituents online, as do musicians and other celebrities… Washington Post columnists are expected to participate in live online chat’s with readers.
In fact, today’s athletes and global icons should be encouraged to blog. They deserve the opportunity to add dimensions to their personalities why are already so public. Eventually this could influence society into thinking that American Idol isn’t the pinnacle, but in fact is about as irrelevant a form of expression as an assist in soccer or Donald Trump’s egotastical media contribution, The Apprentice.
Researchers like Jane McGonigal believe the future of games, particularly of games in education, government or industry, might well lie in players’ ability to work together to solve problems. This extends to both ubiquitous, online games and virtual worlds and in real-life gaming and sport.
Ah, but I ramble. Some interesting sport-celeb blogs include the NBA’s Gilbert Arenas’ Agent Zero Blog. Nate(dogg) Robinson’s The gr8 Life blog is excellent. The Bulls’ Ben Gordon blogs on his MySpace page, UFC fighter Evan Tanner is also on MySpace. There are NFL player blogs, (also a good read — the archived entries of former NFL player Ricky Williams.