It is doubtful anyone is going to learn any lessons from swimmer Ryan Lochte about why athletes should be appreciated for just their athletic skills and nothing else. Athletes are just people with exceptional skills in the profession or pursuit they have chosen. They are not role models nor are they heroes even though that has been applied to athletes for centuries going back to the Greeks and the Romans in the Coliseum.
There were advertising executives grumbling during the Olympics that Rio 2016 really didn’t produce any breakout marketing stars. Athletes are supposed to be bigger than life. Well not all of them, just the winners because they happened to win. And the athletes have to be in popular sporting events. No kayakers are going to be put on cereal boxes.
The most ridiculous part of the whole Lochte incident was from the marketing side and how the marketing industry veterans were irate that Lochte was toxic.
But athletes come and go. The shelf life of an athlete being able to endorse a product is extremely limited. Can it be proven that even having an athlete endorse a product leads to sales? The marketers say yes. But can you take the word of people who push products for a living and would be out of a job if they said something else?
There was another crime allegedly committed during the Olympics that went right under the radar. The President of the Ireland Olympic Committee Thomas Hickey was arrested in connection with ticket scalping.
While Lochte’s behavior cannot be excused, in the scheme of things it was a silly minor offense, the Hickey arrest should have a much larger implication. Yet another leading figure in an international sporting event promotion has been arrested for alleged wrong doing. He will face charges.
People should just enjoy sports for what it is, entertainment. The jock industry should not be one of hero worship.
I’m Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.