A Nice Concise Summary

From USA Today:

No more mythic figures

Fans who pay high ticket prices feel as if they own a piece of high-priced players. Fans who belong to fantasy leagues come to care more about a player's stats than his life. And fans who care to can learn just about anything about players through multiple media outlets.

"The sports media is so utterly intrusive now," Edwards says. "The line between players' private and personal lives has been obliterated. The players have been demythologized. If the same standards had applied when Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle played, they would not have been the mythic figures they came to be.

"Fans have come to see themselves as part of the spectacle. The media and the leagues promote that. The guy who takes his shirt off in sub-zero temperatures gets face time. Jack Nicholson and Spike Lee sit courtside and become part of the action. And the guy in the nosebleed seats feels he has a right to be a star, too. So he takes that information that is out there ? about a player's family, his kids and his financial situation ? and uses it as a weapon. He heckles and sees himself as part of the game."

All of which makes players feel vulnerable these days. "You can know a player's whole life today," Knicks guard Penny Hardaway says, "whereas back in the day, you really couldn't."

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