Celebrity Status in Sports -
Issues of Advertisement and Privacy

ESPN Anchor & Coors Spokesman Dan Patrick

Dan Patrick in Coors ads. Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne selling pizza. SportsCenter promotions featuring athletes and anchors...

Not many news anchors in traditional forms of journalism can be found hocking products as actors would. Not only could this lead to conflict of interest, but it allows the anchors to become something bigger than the stories they cover. They become the stories, the celebrities.

Jim Cohen, senior coordinating producer at ESPN and former newspaper journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Milwaukee Journal, Springfield Union, is "appalled at so-called television journalists at his network cozying up in commercials with the very people they are assigned to cover."

Sports writer Frank Deford spoke out on the promotion that has Keyshawn Johnson and Ricky Watters hyping SportsCenter. Deford asked an audience at a Sports, Politics and Society symposium to "imagine Trent Lott shilling for Peter Jennings or Al Gore promoting NightLine."

"It's not a question whether most of these guys would actually compromise a story or their ability to report. It's their celebrity...In their minds, they--not the athletes, the coaches, the fans--are the show." (Howard Manley, The Boston Globe)

What the Codes Say

Chris Webber and Tyra Banks

With headlines reading "Full-Court buzz: Are Chris Webber and Tyra Banks an item," "C-Webb's celebrity: Examining the rules of the fame game" and "Ask Webber: Dating a model has drawbacks," many ethical questions surrounding reporting about athletes off the field have been asked.

What level of privacy should celebrity athletes expect?
Should the standard waver depending on the athlete or the circumstances of the "personal" matter?
When should an athlete be able to draw the line?

What the Codes Say