Another way to see the sports broadcasting world in both a positive and negative light is through a careful examination of a major athletic event, more specifically, the NFL draft. While many NFL fans see the draft as a promising and hopeful time for their successful franchise or losing team, Thomas Oates is quick to point out some of the issues with the process leading up to the draft in his article, “The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft.” In his article, Oates claims that these predominantly black male athletes are subjected to a series of often uncomfortable and revealing examinations in which NFL scouts, general managers, as well as millions of fans take part in scrutinizing examinations. To bring evidence to his points, Oates states, “NFL personnel are given a sheet that lists each player’s arm and hand measurements, together with blanks for height and weight. The players are told to strip to their shorts and line up.” (Oates 77) Although the author continues to describe the process, this example of viewing the athletes instantly shows a rather controversial examination and over- Furthermore, Oates argues, that because of this constant analyzing, NFL draft athletes are turned into commodities, which directly relates to the time of slavery. He states, “In a similar way, one might suggest that the contemporary flesh market of the NFL draft motivates desire for the products on display in the virtual marketplace of commercialized televised sport.” (Oates, 86) Continuing with his metaphor of the NFL draft as a slave auction, he states, “That for 7
White men, examining slaves, searching out hidden body parts, running hands over limbs, massaging abdomens, and articulating pelvic joints, probing wounds and scars with fingers, was erotic.” (Oates 84). Through looking at Oates’ arguments of the NFL draft as a flesh market in which the physical prowess of these athletes are studied non stop, one can easily make the argument that the draft is significantly over analyzed. However, while Oates’ article is a prime example of major sports events being over-analyzed in a negative way, there are positives to this analyzing of hopeful future NFL athletes. Although the draft does bring forth issues of over-analyzing to the point of creating racial and social tension, the positive aspects of these close examinations is strictly the idea of creating a winning team. In today’s drafting world, teams, coaches, fans, and general managers want to know everything about a player in order to get the best possible investment. Because there are so many risks of injuries, as well as the incredibly high talent levels that exist in the NFL, making sure that the most athletic player is drafted is crucial in striving towards success. For example, fans are so obsessed with knowing everything about potential players, that before last years draft, an NFL Network reporter interviewing people in line to get into Radio City Music Hall and his interviews, he asked fans to comment on fake players.
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