Don’t Let Your Love of Athletes Cloud Your Judgement

Athletes are consistently used in commercials and advertisements to support different products. They are used as a sort of expert testimony, even though in most circumstances they have no expertise in the particular field of the product they are pitching. What vast knowledge does Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning have on Sony products? Yet the audience is meant to be swayed by his appearance in a Sony television commercial because one of the greatest signal callers of all-time is pimping the product, so that must mean that it really is fantastic. The company expects the public to overlook the fact that they are throwing gobs of money at Manning to get him to show his support for them, and instead hope that people will simply make the connection between Manning (great QB) and Sony (great entertainment company). Now I’m not saying Sony isn’t a quality company, but if I was selling you a rug, and I paid Joe Blow (who has no expertise on rugs) $50 to tell you that it was the greatest rug ever and it had fantastic stitching that would make it last for years, would you believe that statement or deduce that he is only saying that because I paid him $50? The same inference should be reached when these athletes do commercials.

So the question than becomes, why do we trust Manning and other athletes who keep cropping up in the vast number ads to support different products? Sure he’s an excellent quarterback, he appears to be a standup guy, he comes off both as well spoken and funny in most of his commercial appearances, but again he lacks expertise in that particular field and is far from unbiased considering the amounts of money he takes in per advertisement. It all connects back to the idea that we discussed in class about athletes as role models. America loves it’s football, Manning is one of the best to ever play that sport, and because he comes off as honest and hardworking he is admired by millions across the nation. But there is a difference between admiring an athlete’s skills and performance and elevating that to another level where they are these superior beings who have this expansive knowledge on the world that the general population doesn’t have access to. We deify these elite athletes who play a sport for a living. Even if some in the sports world are intelligent, I don’t think anyone would argue that they are the brightest minds on the planet. And despite how much of a standup guy Manning may be, he’s not exactly Gandhi.

My point is that we need to be careful with the way we look at athletes. Just because we enjoy their athletic prowess and watching them compete doesn’t mean we should make the leap to elevating these figures to a higher status than they deserve. As a sports fanatic I totally understand obsessing about sports, but we don’t need to model our lives after the likes of Peyton Manning, or take what he says as though it’s the word of God itself.  Manning is great at what he does, just be sure to remember that what he does is football. When you try to jump past that and take it further based on who he appears to be as a human being when really we have no idea what he’s like, you open the possibility up for another Tiger Woods situation. These people aren’t always who they seem, so just be forewarned.

Comments are closed.