Do Great Athletes Have To Be Good People?

Johnny Manziel was a hot topic during this panel. Everyone calls him the troubled boy in the NFL – you can see why. Executives and agents are navigating a new set of risks, the media amplifies stories as they have a responsibility to do so, and fans have the choice of whether or not to care about anything beyond how their teams perform on the field. So how should we all think about a celebrity athlete’s personal character and off-field behavior?

IMG_4936The start of this panel began with Katie Nolan, Fox Sports TV host, and Kevin Demoff, COO of Los Angeles Rams, discussing athlete’s personal character off the field and addressing issues. “It’s up to the player. We have many good role models in the Rams. We have many other players under their wing. It’s up to the players to take ownership in treating an issue,” Demoff said.

With the reputation TMZ has, TMZ Sports Executive Producer Evan Rosenblum clears the air as he continuously gets questioned about the intentions of the company. “Everyone thinks we intentionally make the news bad. Bad things happen, we report on it,” Rosenblum said. “I want to see Johnny Manziel succeed, I don’t want to see him fail. I got a video this morning about Johnny and it sucks to post it, but it is news.”

Nolan then asked Rosenblum if they ever question posting a story. “There are certain lines of privacy that we won’t cross. If something goes too far we just won’t publish it.” When Nolan asked about the line he was referring to, he responded, “there is no hard rule, every story is different and you have to make the right judgment.”

At the closing of this panel, Nolan questioned if fans expect too much from athletes. “No, don’t beat your wives, don’t drive drunk. They [the fans] expect the same things as they do in their own families,” Rosenblum said. “Ten years ago people crossed their fingers that something would go out. Now everyone has cell phones and everything gets out so quick. Just don’t lie, and don’t cover it up. Just apologize. Express that you knew you screwed up and make things right.”