October 7, 2022

Legacy In Sports

By: Griffin Silverman

Legacy in sports is an interesting topic. Many may argue that players with a strong legacy are granted advantages within the rules of their respective leagues.  

When it comes to the NFL, Tom Brady, who has won seven Super Bowls, seems to get a lot of calls to go his way. No one talks about “Deflategate” anymore. This controversy of Tom Brady deliberately deflating footballs in their 2015 AFC Championship win over the Indianapolis Colts ultimately resulted in him winning another Superbowl over the Seattle Seahawks. While he was given a four game suspension at the beginning of the 2016 NFL season, he was still awarded another Superbowl title. He currently has won seven Super Bowls. 

In the NBA, Lebron James, who has won four NBA titles, basically controls every team he is on. To NBA fans, it often appears that he picks and chooses which players he wants on his teams. He has the star power to build super teams because of the high skill level and impact he has had thus far in his career. Additionally, fans argue that Lebron James receives every call in his games. Some people may say he travels a lot. His good friend, Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns, who also has a strong legacy and often seems to get foul calls to go his way, was recently called out. Patrick Beverly, a strong defensive player with an even stronger personality, called Chris Paul out for his lack of ability to win big playoff games. He spoke negatively on Chris Paul’s defensive skills especially after the most recent playoff loss of the Suns: “Man, CP can’t guard nobody, man. Everybody in the NBA knows that. What do we call him? Cone. You know when you do cones? Like, in the summertime, you gotta cone. You make a move. What does the cone do?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4syOG3krw0). Patrick Beverley continued to discuss how Chris Paul rarely gets calls against him even though he should have fouled out in multiple games. 

To many sports fans, popular sports players with a strong legacy behind their name receive favoritism from their respective leagues and referees. These players have put in countless hours of hard work on and off the court to create a positive impact for their sports and the world. They have built their legacies and earned respect that will stand the test of time. This then begs the question, “does the respect and legacy of certain athletes mean they should receive special accommodations?”

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8 thoughts on “Legacy In Sports

  1. Great post! This is an important point to bring up and shed light on. I feel like legacy players are so protected because they have their hands in so many companies, and businesses feel the effects of sports politics. For example if someone like Tom Brady was to have serious repercussions for his “deflategate.” companies that sponsor him like under armor and foot locker could face economic fluctuation. Even though it is unfair to lower ranking players, high profile stars have their hands in so many companies that powerful people are willing to protect them. Regardless, interesting blog!

  2. Griffin,
    I agree with the point that at time it there can be an unfair advantage in legacy athletes because it is true that due to star power, the NBA is able to to build super teams that display high skill level and impact the careers of people on a direct team or on the teams around them. At the same time, as you said, there is so much support and respect for their talent. Players like Lebron James have earned every win that comes.

  3. Cool post! It would be really interesting if someone took data on foul calls to see the extent these players get favorable calls. As a Vikings fan, I’m already biased towards disliking Aaron Rodgers, which makes me pause when I disagree with a roughing the passer penalty or something like that. But refs are also human, so I could see how they would unintentionally pay more attention to the players with legacies that they have known for years. I still feel like it gets blown up too much through social media though, because at this point, people are biased towards seeing this.

  4. This is a great read. You are right that no one talks about deflate gate anymore and now Brady is just simply the GOAT. Social media has a big influence on how he was brought up as the GOAT. Oldest man to win the 7 titles. These athletes are fantastic and many have huge social media presence, such as Roger Federer.

  5. I agree with Kenny, this was such a great read. Legacy is something that is important to so many people, and hearing you share your perspective really gave me insight into what legacy is about. This was great.

  6. This was a great read! I really enjoyed that you talked about famous athletes and some of their scandals, it was a different side of social media or influencers. No one talks about “deflategate” anymore, and I think it’s because when it happened, it was at a time before “cancel culture” or where social media dictated a powerful figure’s reputation. I liked the question you added at the end, it’s definitely something to think and ponder on!

  7. Griffin — I really enjoyed your blog post! You introduced a great conversation to the concept of legacy advantages that’s often resembled within the sports industry. I agree that some athletes receive different treatment in comparison to others. I find it interesting how some athletes that partake in scandals are ‘excused’ in the eyes of the public from their actions due to their legacy status — connecting to societal power struggles we see today. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I really like your insights and your post, but the question is pretty controversial. They chose the path of being an extraordinary athlete, but they didn’t have the right to choose what they can receive from others. Everything has pro and cons, the question here only see the pros of being famous and respected by majorities. Meanwhile, many of those famous players have suffered from bad comments and negative judgment. We cannot imagine how much pain they have been in until today. I think whoever can make it to that place, definitely deserve it.

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