Activism in sports is a… touchy subject, to say the least.
You’ve got your diehard “sports and politics are SEPARATE!” folks (who, interestingly enough, don’t speak up when an an athlete supports their views) and the “athletes HAVE to talk about politics” people (who will praise an athlete for agreeing with their stance and shame an athlete for having opposing views).
And then there are the more moderate: people like myself, who think that athletes should speak up and should be given the opportunity to speak their opinions, but that it should not be an expectation of them.
The feature I’m writing is on Julianna Iafallo, a player on the Buckeyes Women’s Ice Hockey team. She’s a forward and wears number 18.
My interest in her was piqued when I saw that she was from Buffalo, New York (a fellow Western NY’er, seeing as I’m from Rochester, NY) and that she’d played on the Buffalo Bison women’s AHL team.
My angle took a lot of time to decide on, to be honest. I realized early on that only wanting to talk to her because she was from Buffalo wasn’t going to be enough if I wanted to have a really impressive feature.
I’ve always been, at least in part, against pulling gossip and drama into the world of sports, especially if A. the gossip has nothing to do with the player’s performance in the game, B. is being published without the consent of the player to talk abouft it, or C. it’s all speculative and there to generate ‘clicks’ instead of having any sort of journalistic integrity.
That aside, there’s definitely a place for gossip in sports. The audience demands it, and if a sports site wants views over their competition, they’ll publish the drama or gossip.