Cognitive Dissonance: "An uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously"
You'll have to forgive the psychology minor in me, but cognitive dissonance perfectly explains the feeling I get when the subject of Terrelle Pryor comes up on ESPN, especially considering Pryor's fate in terms of the NFL Supplemental Draft is about to be determined. Yes, I know, I've turned into a frequent critic of ESPN, especially when it comes to their journalistic decline in relation to their quest for world-domination. As I've argued before, the problem with ESPN is that they want you the viewer to compartmentalize and separate all of the WorldWide Leader's different tentacles.
We're supposed to compartmentalize Joe Schad's reporting on Texas A&M joining the SEC from ESPN's investment in the Longhorn Network, forgetting the fact that Schad has proven to be a fraud. We're supposed to compartmentalize ESPN cozying up to athletes at The ESPY's to their "hard-hitting" reporting on those same athletes. We're supposed to compartmentalize The Heat Index from The Decision. We're supposed to compartmentalize how ESPN covers the leagues they are in business with from the presentation of those events.
The same is true when looking at the singular case of Terrelle Pryor. On the one hand, there's Terrelle Pryor the cheating Ohio St. quarterback. On the other, there's Terrelle Pryor the reclamation story. Not even before ESPN had finished digging up dirt on Pryor, which of course was followed by his expulsion from the Ohio St. football program, ESPN sought to build Pryor back up on his quest to enter the NFL's Supplemental Draft.
Matt talked about the media's vicious cycle of building up athletes, only to tear them down, and vice versa. But, ESPN has skipped the cycle completely with Terrelle Pryor by simultaneously building him up and tearing him down. One minute, Pryor is the subject of severe rules violations, the prototypical athlete breaking or bending the NCAA's rules. Minutes later, he's laughing with Jon Gruden who's extolling THIS GUY as a great person and football player. How can Terrelle Pryor be a victim of Don Goodell's hammer of justice at the same time he's a villain for taking advantage of his fame? And yes, it is more complicated than the a student-athlete making the jump from college to the pros...