Posted: February 11, 2011 in African American Media, Sports, Television/Radio

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, Jalen Rose, Spike Lee, Randy Shannon, Marion Jones, Mike Wilbon and John Calipari discuss the current state of African Americans in sports. In this excerpt, the panelists’ focus on the differences in how black and white athletes are covered in the media. In the interest of sparking some serious debate on this blog, I’d like everyone to check watch this short video and respond to the question below!

In the beginning, they put up a chart which showed the results of a “African American Player Poll” addressing the media’s treatment of athletes with off-field issues on a scale of 1-to-5 (with 1 representing the kindest treatment and 5 representing the harshest). Just to keep it simple, I’d like to focus on the different media portrayals of Steelers quarterback Ben Rothlisberger and former Atlanta Falcons, now Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Compare and contrast the differences in media coverage of the two star NFL QB’s discrepancies and answer the following 2 questions:

1. In what specific way, or ways, did the nature of the media’s coverage of both Rothlisberger’s and Vick’s transgressions effect their present national perspective? More simply stated, how did the media’s coverage shape how people feel about the two NFL quarterbacks today?

2. Considering the specifics surrounding the misconduct of Rothlisberger and Vick, had it been the other way around and Big Ben was involved with dog fighting while Vick was accused of sexually assaulting a female, how do you think each would’ve been judged in the eyes of the media differently, if at all?


By: Brandon Davis


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