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Explaining the Athlete Dong Phenomenon: It’s a Members Only Thing

Louis Daguerre must be doing McTwists in his grave by now. When the Frenchman put into process what we now know as photographs in 1837, little did he know what his creation would produce some 170 years later. Unless you have just returned from a jaunt through Waziristan or you were one of the thirty-three miners interred in the San Jose mine in Chile for the last 2 months, you are probably very much aware of the scandal enveloping the life of Brett Favre now.

From the time of our earliest ancestor’s drawing on cave walls to the ancient Egyptians, there have been, let’s say, “colorful” depictions of the human body portrayed in society. An eleventh century wood cut was not as easily posted on Facebook or MySpace as it is today, however. That brings us to the modern day, where athletes have taken certainly liberties with technology and have celebrated the new features added to their mobile phones by presenting themselves to the world in a whole new light.

It seems like a growing number of professional athletes, ranging from George Hill and Greg Oden to David Aardsma have found their name linked with pictures of their appendage splashed all over the Internet. Any modicum of intelligence these players were assumed to have had has seemingly disappeared, taking any sense of shame with it. But, no one would confuse George Hill for George Mikan, Greg Oden for Greg Maddux. The Hall of Famers operate on a different wavelength, right?

Well that might have been the case up until recently, when cell phone pictures purportedly showing Brett Favre’s johnson joined the long list of wilsons that have unfortunately found their way into the pubic, er, public domain. Of course, for now, Brett’s name in this matter comes with the modifier “allegedly” close behind due to a lack of irrefutable evidence. However, there have been no denials or statements to the contrary from any of the parties involved. There have been many tearful apologies in sports lately, but all that has come from Mr. Favre are oddly phrased responses like, “I’ve got my hands full with the Jets,” which have caused many snickers and have sent New York headline writers into apoplectic fit.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the latest “Dong Gate,” what drives athletes to do this? This type of behavior is not simply relegated to public figures like athletes, but if a first round draft pick is sending shots of his low post instead of blocking shots, you better believe that people will notice. Could it be arrogance, nonchalance, or just complete dimwittedness that causes high profile stars to embark on such nonsense?

We live in an age where privacy has pretty much joined the powdered wig in extinction. To expect that a lurid picture will remain confined to the receiver’s Blackberry is completely foolish. Any rational mind would have to believe that an e-mail, photo, text, etc. has a good chance of floating out into the world of Internet blogs, especially considering the public’s thirst for knowledge.

It is doubtful that the Brett Favre saga will put an end to all the Ansel Adams protégés out there snapping pictures of their handheld devices for their handheld devices. But, there is a reason that the “send” button exists, providing an opportunity for the rational brain to remind overly eager people that it may not be a good idea to click.

In the last 20 years, inappropriateness has tarnished the reputation of a President, Supreme Court justice, and many celebrities. You may be able to add Brett Favre’s name to the head count (sorry). The list will no doubt grow but maybe this whole situation will cause someone to think the next time they reach for their cell phone and belt buckle at the same time. Maybe a hobby like macramé or crochet would be more productive.

Hold on a second, I’m getting a text…………..

Danny Lee has been involved in sports media for over seven years… While at UCLA, he turned his grade school doodles into a position with the Daily Bruin, and continues his diatribes to this day.


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