Hulk Hogan Just Another Fallen Sports Hero

By Brian P. Dunleavy
Oct. 18, 2012

Warner Wolf, the long-time sportscaster on the local CBS affiliate here in New York, has for years during the late-night local news introduced the highlights of the day’s games with the pithy phrase, "Let's go to the videotape…"

These days, of course, he has to be careful. Thanks to the Internet and camera phones, there's a lot more footage of our athletes out there than ever before. Only some of it captures them on the playing field.

And almost none of it could be described as "highlights."

Take for example legendary professional football quarterback Brett Favre. Favre is busy fending off lawsuits claiming that he sexually harassed several female team employees during his one season as a New York Jet in 2008. The evidence against him includes text messages and photos he allegedly sent to the team "massage staff" using his cell phone—including, again allegedly, a photo of his penis.

Favre's purported philandering—he's married—was followed in short order by similar behavior on the part of several English soccer players (a different kind of football, if you will)—Chelsea's Ashley Cole, among them. They were charged with doing the exact same thing, penis photos and all. And even non-sports fans know the saga of Tiger Woods; in 2009, text messages to multiple mistresses—including, allegedly, one proposing a steamy ménage à trois with the Yankees' Derek Jeter—reportedly brought down the golf superstar's marriage to supermodel Elin Nordegren in a very public fashion.

Now, the latest tale of the tape in sports is that of professional wrestler Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea). Last week, grainy video of the "Hulkster" in bed with his best friend's wife surfaced online and, reportedly, portrays the actor-athlete (pro wrestling is fake but its participants can run, jump and lift with the best of them) in an extremely negative light.

Let's not go to the videotape.

Athletes behaving badly? Nothing new. Boys will be boys, and all that. But before the Internet we all could practice a certain "ignorant bliss" with regard to our sports heroes. We could laud their on-field exploits and avoid their off-the-field ones so much easier. We always knew, but we didn’t need to know.

No longer. Now, we have too much information, in every sense of the phrase, and typically we don't know what to do with it. What's worse: We know enough about the whole Internet sex-tape "phenomena" to know that some people—maybe even the athlete themselves—are making money off the footage (see Kardashian, Kim).

Too bad the rest of us poorer off for it.


About the author: Brian P. Dunleavy is a writer who lives in New York.



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