The effects of sports blogs

Humor is a necessity in life. People are always going to want to laugh, and sports, a cultural phenomenon that transcends boundaries, should be no different. Now, when that simple humor crosses a proverbial line and has the power to taint an athlete’s career, that’s when ethics should be called into question.

I liken many sports blogs to late night television shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report. They’re incredibly funny and offer a twisted look at the world’s current events, but they are in no way hard news, and should not be considered as such. Yet their differences lie in the fact that these shows aren’t an all-access, TMZ-like pass into the private lives of celebrities and political figures, but rather a humorous take on aspects of their lives that are already covered in the news. Blogs such as Deadspin seem to adhere to that standard with the ability to go even further, like posting pictures of Matt Leinhart with a beer bong and other incriminating evidence. While I’m sure he wouldn’t mind a blog poking a bit of fun at something he does on the field or says in an interview, seeing a picture of himself at a party probably isn’t the image he wants his fans or the Cardinals front office to know him by.

There are ways to laugh without ruining the careers of those who make sports what they are – the athletes. Blogs like Deadspin do have harmless material that everyone can find humorous. But when their writers turn vulgar and use expletive after expletive to describe a pitcher’s performance, or unveil photos that can harm the career of a promising player, that’s when I yearn for a resurrection of the newspaper. I do believe hard news and blogs can coexist, though, and like Braylon Edwards said, people will always want to know the facts and the truth of what happened in a game, and that’s where true reporters will never disappear. And blogs can provide that humorous side of it all, portraying the light and fluffy side of sports. But, in a society where reality TV has already seemingly taken over the airwaves, the last thing we need is another gossip-fueled complete-access look into an unsuspecting athlete’s life.

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Eamon Murphy: From sodas to Sweet 16

 

Thirty years ago, Eamon Murphy couldn’t even sell sodas. Now, he’s the go-to guy for the merchandise of a Sweet 16 team.

One the first day of his vending job at Candlestick Park at the age of 14, he simply wasn’t able to garner up the confidence to sell his soft drinks.  After failing to sell a single soda during the Giants’ batting practice, he forced himself to climb up to the nose-bleed seats and scream out all of his natural timidity. He hasn’t slowed down since.

Murphy, a ’86 graduate of Saint Mary’s College, now runs Gameday Souvenirs, based in Lafayette, CA, and has hit a personal jackpot by selling his alma mater’s apparel at a time when the school is as famous as it has been in years, thanks to the team’s stunning run to the South Region semifinals last month’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Eamon Murphy isn’t your stereotypical salesman, however. He’s a rare breed; he is a people person that’s not pushy and in-your-face cut is someone the general public can appreciate.

“I don’t like when salesmen force me to buy things I don’t want,” Murphy said. “Just be honest and the rest takes care of itself.”

In a world where advertisements are found essentially everywhere and many go to any length to sell one his or her product, Murphy prides himself on a much more modest approach.

“The number one thing to know for sales is to be nice, then to sell,” he said. “I don’t mix that up. I would rather lose the sale than lose the customer.”

Whatever he’s doing, it definitely works.

Realizing there was a lack of merchandise Gaels fans could buy, he proposed an a sales idea to the Saint Mary’s business office and athletic department in 1989 and the next year found himself outside the football stadium selling shirts.

“I knew that day that this was going to work,” he said. “These were products people wanted.”

His biggest payoff by far has been the Gaels’ recent basketball run. While he had to work daunting hours – he spent the night processing orders, slept for a couple of hours, and then return to campus to continue to sell – he sold over 1000 shirts the week the team advanced to the Sweet 16.

“Making the Sweet 16 really jumped us a level regarding athletics and merchandise,” Murphy said. “We’re not on Gonzaga’s level yet but we have now entered that realm. In 20 years that’s never happened.”

If the Gaels can keep up their winning ways for years to come, business will simply continue to boom for the hard-working Murphy. Thirty seconds after the Gaels’ defeated Villanova, he already had Sweet 16 shirts available online. Then the orders just poured in, with over 200 of them within the first two hours.