Earlier this month, news broke that Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino sired a love child with a CBS coworker and paid millions of dollars to keep the incident quiet. Up until this story, Dan Marino had managed to stay away from negative publicity throughout his career as a player or broadcaster, branding himself as a family man and solid American role model. Unfortunately, the story finally leaked and his image is forever tarnished. But if this happened 30 years ago, The Inquirer would be the only news source covering this story that has nothing to do with sports. As a sports fan, I wish that was still true today.
With sports coverage 24/7 all over the world and instant media coverage, ESPN and other news sources are dying for stories to report, so once they get their hands on it, it will inevitably blow up. Its pretty incredible Marino was able to hide this from the public this long; the kid is 7 years old now! Lucky for him, this story took a backseat to other big stories in the media like the SuperBro, the Lance Armstrong crucifixion, and Manti “Catfish” Te’o.
Kids today are unable to look at a sports figure as a life role model. The media will eventually find something that will tarnish an athlete’s image, or the athlete will be caught doing something they shouldn’t (Phil Mickleson is a ticking time bomb). A buddy of mine, who is a big Marino fan, told me that this story doesn’t bother him and he loved Marino not as a life role model, but as a football role model who played the game the right way. My friend brings up a great point that Charles Barkley brought to light 25 years ago ”Athletes are not role models, your parents are.” With the media hounding every big name athlete these days, it’s virtually impossible keep a sparkling image of role model. In the 1920’s, Babe Ruth was the king of sports and fans of all ages adored him. If he were in today’s limelight, his partying and womanizing would have made Tiger Woods look like Jack McBrayer. It would be awesome for sports media to take a step back and give these athletes some breathing room to live their lives. Unfortunately The Inquirer subscriber in all of us won’t allow that to happen.