Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Revisionist History of Sports

Regular listeners will know that I hate revisionist history.  Going back and changing the presentation of events to fit a modern day narrative annoys the heck out of me.  And now the practice has spread to sports.  But rather than changing history to "make it more inclusive" or to justify a modern social more--sports history is being altered because someone is paying to makeit happen.  And unfortunately, the media that covers the events are going along with it.

I was watching GolfCentral on the Golf Channel last night and they were previewing the first major on the LPGA Tour this week: The ANA Inspiration.  This is the first year with that name (ANA is All Nippon Airways--a Japanese airline--which I guess is fitting, since about half of the players on the LPGA are now from Asia).  Golf fans may remember this tournament as the Kraft-Nabisco Championship--which it was until last year--and before that as the Colgate Dinah Shore (named for the entertainer who was the founder and hostess, along with a major backer of women's professional golf).

Anyway, during its coverage, the Golf Channel referred to Lexi Thompson as the "defending ANA Inspiration Champion".  That is not true.  Lexi Thompson won the 2014 Kraft-Nabisco Championship--the ANA Inspiration didn't exist last year.  If Golf Channel wants to be accurate, they should refer to her as the "defending TOURNAMENT champion".  Then in a feature about the tradition of the winner jumping into the water hazard next to the 18th green (known as Poppy's Pond) graphics on the screen claimed the highlights were from the "2012 ANA Inspiration" the "1998 ANA Inspiration" and finally Amy Alcott starting the tradition at the "1988 ANA Inspiration".  All of which were events that NEVER actually existed--they were the Kraft Nabisco and the Dinah Shore at that time.

Now women's golf is not the only offender.  NASCAR has a problem keeping its history straight as well.  I cringe every time I hear announcers or analysts say "Jimmie Johnson is trying to join Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, Sr as the only 7-time Sprint Cup Champions in history!"  The truth is that Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt NEVER won the "Sprint Cup".  The King captured 2 NASCAR Grand National titles (before anyone thought about having a sponsored trophy) and 5 Winston Cups.  Dale Senior won 7 Winston Cups.  I've seen the pictures of these trophies in a classic poster and the word "Sprint" is not on any of them.  Johnson himself has won Winston, NEXTEL and Sprint Cups, so to call him a "6 Time Sprint Cup Champion" is also false.  If Fox and TNT and ABC want to be accurate--they should refer to them as "7 time NASCAR Champions".

Unfortunately, both ANA and Sprint pay the networks that are televising these events to run their ads during the broadcasts.  So I guess what they want said gets said--whether its actually true or not.  I'm anxious to see if the iconic statue of Dinah Shore next to the bridge leading to the 18th green is replaced this week the CEO of ANA to "celebrate it's founding of the tournament it had nothing to do with until this week" 44-years ago.

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