By now we have all seen the clip of Washington Nationals phenom Bryce Harper’s reply to a reporter’s question on if the 19-year-old will drink while playing in Canada, where the legal drinking age is 18.
If you haven’t, Harper coolly turned his head and answered “That’s a clown question, bro.” Which on its own was a good answer and a great sound bite. And it should have been left at that – a star athlete putting a reporter in his place for a ridiculous question.
But it didn’t end there. In the world of sports it never does.
In an attempt to cash-in, Harper has trademarked the phrase and t-shirts have begun to roll of the presses for the Nationals’ faithful to purchase. I get that there’s money to be made, but isn’t that just a bit ridiculous?
It’s not like Harper is a seasoned MLB veteran that has a history of putting reporters in their place. The kid is a rookie and this reeks of a cash-grab and nothing more. Sure the kid is good, but he’s a bit too fresh to be making money off his clout.
But that seems to be the trend lately – get in to pro sports, make as much money as you can before you have actually accomplished anything.
Case in point is this year’s No. 1 NBA draft pick Anthony Davis. Davis has taken ownership of one of his most distinguished (non-basketball, of course) features – his unibrow. “Fear the Brow” and “Raise the Brow” are now owned by the Davis family. Before Davis has ever boxed-out in a single NBA game, he’s hoping to cash in.
Somewhere Michael Jordan’s tongue is rolling its eyes.
Where does it end? Do we give pro athletes the ability to market, sell and get paid on every ridiculous catchphrase, or sponsorship? Should we allow MLB players’ uniforms to look like NASCAR fire suits? Should we digitally impose portions of the playing field with company logos?
Sideline reports and interviews are already being sold as advertising opportunities to the highest bidder, so who’s to say that there won’t be a day when TV announcers will have to call a “hot-shot towards the GAP, in GEICO left field.” Or Marv Albert shouting “Davis gets denied driving the Meow Mix lane!”
Shouldn’t we leave money generated to the shoe companies, soft drink companies, TV contracts, ticket sales, jersey sales, concession sales, public appearances…ah, forget it. Resistance is futile, and I’m a clown for even asking.