Controversial Rolling Stone covers and sad ESPY videos

I don’t really consider myself a very sentimental person. I cry very seldom. It’s not that I don’t have emotion, it’s just that I am very good at not showing it.

I’ve often heard that a solid cry every now and then can be beneficial, but, I’m a man. Sorry. I don’t cry. Crying murks my inner thug and there’s just no place for that.

I have, however, been known to tear up on occasion. And I will tell you what does it for me. It’s not the end of Titanic, or seeing a three-legged dog on the street. Even chopping onions does nothing for me. But what does get me — every damn time — are those manipulative, sappy six- to eight-minute segments that ESPN puts together about someone who has overcome adversity.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wearing douchy sunglasses indoors at the ESPYs on Wednesday night.

I swear to God, anytime you mix sentimental music, an eloquent narrator who talks slowly and with conviction, and just the mere mention of any type of disease, I could feel the water collecting at the brim of my eyes. It’s my kryptonite. I’m not sure what it is, perhaps it’s just the inner sports fan in me. The only way that I could cry is if I am watching some sad story that is sports related.

ESPN is the master at these. And particularly Tom Rindaldi, a reporter who has worked for the network since 2003. He does nothing at ESPN except narrate these sappy videos. It’s like he spends all of his time searching for these devastating yet inspiring stories for him to report on. And by golly he does it well.

Put it this way, if Rinaldi ever contacted me and asked if he could do a story on me, I’ll know that I am in big, big trouble.

And these videos are really the only reason why I watch the ESPYs, which aired last night. It’s not because I need to see the rich get richer, and watch millionaire athletes like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick win more awards. That’s the last thing I want to see.

But ever year the ESPYs distributes the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and beforehand, they put together a lengthy video detailing the trials and tribulations of the recipient. In all my life of watching the ESPYs, never once has it failed to make me cry.

This year’s honoree was Robin Roberts, one of the pioneers for African American women in journalism, who joined ESPN in 1990, back when there were very few women — let alone black women — in the industry. But through professionalism and integrity, she worked her way up the ladder to gain respect, and later became a co-host for ABC’s Good Morning America. Her biggest challenges, however, came in 2007 when she developed breast cancer, and in 2012 after being diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disease that required a bone marrow transplant from her sister for her to survive.

She’s a pretty amazing person, and ESPN struck gold yet again with its video. Watch it. Watch it now, and be prepared to shed some blue.

Sorry, I uhh, I got something in my eye…

It just goes to show that life is very long, and eventually, we’re all going to face adversity in form of another. The only thing we can do is to challenge it head on with a smile and as gracefully as Robin Roberts did.

If you’re in the mood for another, here’s the amazing story of Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old boy with brain cancer who scored a 69-yard touchdown during a Nebraska college football scrimmage. It won “Best Moment” at the ESPYs last night, and ESPN made a video about it. It’s equally as powerful and will probably also make you cry. Watch it here.

Alright, enough sappy stuff. *Sniffles*

I wanted to touch on Rolling Stone magazine’s controversial decision this week to not only put together an extensive story on the surviving Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but to also feature it on the cover.

The magazine has received intense criticism by people who claim that this publicity is glamorizing terrorism, and only serves to provide the attention that they are striving for when they commit their heinous deeds. Indeed, retailers like CVS and Walgreens already said they will not sell the issue within their stores.

After hearing the cries, Rolling Stone defended itself in a statement, saying, “The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is young, and in the same age group as many of our readers, makes it all the more important for us to examine the complexities of this issue and gain a more complete understanding of how a tragedy like this happens.”

Here’s my take: if it’s not Rolling Stone, its somebody else. The truth of the matter is, people are fascinated by murderers. By terrorists. By psychopaths. We want to know what went wrong, and how they got this way. We want to know the exact moment when they turned from a sweet, innocent kid into a monster. We want to know their heritage, where they lived, who their friends are, and mostly, we want to know why they did what they did.

Rolling Stone knows this, and they took advantage. That the magazine is being so highly discussed is already making their decision a commercial victory. NBC News predicts that the magazine’s sales will boost from this issue.

The magazine has never really been viewed as a tabloid. It has mass credibility, and it’s typically deemed an honor to grace its front cover. So I think that adds to the controversy. Had People Magazine done this, then the backlash would likely not be as harsh.

And that’s obviously the moral dilemma that Rolling Stone faced. Imagine a victim of the bombing, or a family member of a victim, strolling past a magazine stand and seeing the face of the person who gave them such great emotional pain.

But again, Rolling Stone is simply satisfying their reader’s insatiable need for information, and I can’t blame them for that. Another point of criticism is that the expressionless headshot with wavy hair and grizzly beard physically makes him look like a rock star, and I suppose the magazine could have maybe toned it down a little bit with that. But, at the same time, they committed to the story and I have to give them credit for that. The publishers made a decision and stuck with their guns.

If you’re not reading it here, then you’re reading it on Wikipedia, or watching old YouTube news clips from back when it happened. If anything, Rolling Stone just made it easier for everyone to get the story, and then that’s it. We won’t need to know anymore. The guy is not going to live a rock star life. He’s going to rot in jail, probably be beaten often, and will hate it. Every minute of it. There’s no glamorization in that.

And in six months from now, I await the ESPN video that recounts the successful comeback of a Boston Marathon victim who regained his or her ability to walk.

I’ll bawl my eyes out.

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One thought on “Controversial Rolling Stone covers and sad ESPY videos

  1. Oh God, am I an idiot. For some reason I thought you meant some stupid naive rock star wannabe covered some Rolling Stones. I wasn’t thinking about the magazine cover! But still, awful (or brilliant marketing strategy) idea. I know they’ve used controversial covers in the past, but with such technology and opinions and speed of such information, it seems much worse now. That being said I -LOVE- the Dr. Ozzy Column. I’m digressing but last Saturday my husband and I were listening to Iron Man in the car, and I said how Ozzy should have died 30 years ago with the drugs, liquor and pills he pumped into his system. And how many celebrities have died over the years due to drugs. But he’s alive, kicking and is still fucking awesome…Then I got home and find out Corey died. So I felt like a huge ass. I’m still very sad and very angry that this happens to anyone, A-List or not.
    But anyway, I adore Robin Roberts. She’s so deserving of such an award. As a very white, very accident prone (ie un-athletic) female, I don’t follow ESPN, but knew the award was a very big deal. I only got to see her colleague escort her, and it got me a little misty.

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