Pop stars and sports just don’t mix
May 8, 2003
I’m not sure how to ease into today’s column subject so I’ll just say it: I cannot name a single song by N Synch. See, I can’t even spell the group’s name — isn’t there an apostrophe that’s supposed to be in there? And if so, exactly where? For me, the answers are shrouded in mystery.
I’m sure that the group has a vast body of work, but it is unknown by me. I cannot warble a single note. I don’t know how many members are in the troupe and just forget about naming them. Wait … Ricky Martin? Does that sound right? Or is that Menudo? I’m very confused.
There are certain things in life you go out of your way to avoid. N Synch* is one of those. And Britney Spears. Also presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer (if I want creative lies, I’ll watch former Iraq information minister Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf). Oh, and the movie “Boat Trip.”
But my neat, tidy little world crumbled at my feet recently when TNT announced its new NBA correspondent — Justin Timberlake. Who was this mystery person, I wondered? TNT went on to tell me that he is a member of the group N Synch — and was in fact, the lead singer and is Britney Spears’ former boyfriend.
And so the network, in a single minute, completely shattered my cone of silence and brought me up to date on Justin Timberlake against my will. Seriously, I now know as much about him as your typical seventh-grade girl and I’m not happy about it. Damn you, TNT.
Oh, those youth demographics. Networks will do anything to get ’em, which is why we have marginally talented pop stars sprinkled throughout our regular sports programming at an ever-increasing rate. If I want to watch the NBA Playoffs, why do I have to watch a segment which features Justin Timberlake playing one-on-one with Magic Johnson? It’s not right.
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And how about Tom Arnold? Yes, I’m here to say that “The Best Damn Sports Show, Period,” is an example of false advertising on a par with “There are no American tanks in Baghdad.” You want to know why everyone in the world hates us? Watch this show for about 10 minutes.
Take Monday Night Football for another example. Dennis Miller is a funny guy, but he knew absolutely nothing about football, a fact that took ABC about a year to discover. And all that comic Jimmy Kimmel managed to do on the Fox NFL pre-game show was to annoy Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long to the point where they wanted to kill him. It takes a lot to make Terry Bradshaw look like the calm and centered one on a show, but Kimmel achieved it.
It has been proven time and time again — questionably talented entertainment stars and sports do not mix. Just about every Super Bowl halftime show has proven this. And remember Roseanne singing the national anthem? And the Adam Sandler film “Water Boy”?
This also applies to music, where the artists are not even present. I figure that Major League Baseball owes me a lot of money for all the times I had to listen to “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Also I was forced to watch people dance the Macarena for year back in ’96. The scars will not heal. Bud Selig, you owe me.
If Major League Baseball wanted to really be inventive, they could hire Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf (I hear he’s available). He could go on television periodically with statements like these:
“The Detroit Tigers are not in last place! Their pitching is fine. Playoff tickets go on sale next month!”
“Not very many seats available for the Expos’ next home series! And parking is limited!”
“Ties in the All-Star Game are a good thing! We strive to have no winner!”
“Death to the infidels who will not pitch to Bonds!”
* = place apostrophe where desired.
— Rick Chandler’s interactive sports column, Capacity Crowd, can be found at NBCSports.com. Contact him at RickChand@earthlink.net
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