Athletes, Please Step Away From Your Laptops

How much is too much? Streaming, babbling video

The technology boom of the past century brought the general public extensive coverage of its favorite sports and unprecedented access to its genetically blessed stars. 

The Internet age is threatening to make us regret it.

The overshare overkill started, albeit entertainingly, with Stephon Marbury's 24-hour streaming video day-in-the-life techno-bender last weekend, in which the NBA free agent was alternately shirtless, stretching, sobbing, dancing, banning "haters" in the accompanying interactive chatroom, and, yep, even eating petroleum jelly to soothe the ensuing strained vocal cords.  

StarburyTV: Vaseline

It was raw, unprecedented, often hilarious, and strangely endearing in its honesty.

The only problem: his idea spread. And now the trend is just annoying because no one else is doing it with any purpose besides interacting for interaction's sake.

The first to jump on the bandwagon was Miami's own hybrid underachiever-fake Mexican, Chad Johnson Ochocinco, who extolled his ability "to step outside what everybody does [and] dare to b differ," [sic] even as he sat doing a pointless imitation of Marbury (which he continues to do, jumping back in front of the camera every chance he gets).

And there the newborn phenomenon quickly transitioned from near-performance art to attention-seeking, meaningless gobbledygook.  A peek into a complicated man's mind is one thing, but does anyone really care what a half-naked Bengals receiver's relationship advice is?  Is this what we've come to: we'll sit, eyes glazed over, listening to anything a famous athlete has to say? 

Apparently so, because soon enough, up sprung a feed of former 'Canes baller Jack McClinton talking on the phone, followed by a video of Dwyane Wade rapping -- really, really horribly, and without need or reason, unless Wade's started a charity to encourage children who can't carry a beat. Just like him!

There will be no escape from this horror. Our obsession with athletes and the excrutiating minutae of their personalities and lives has careened out of control; because we wanted more, athletes are giving us less -- in both necessity and quality.

So here's a rule of thumb, athletes: if you're engaged in something that a 10th grade girl would do, cut it out.  We don't need to know what you ate for breakfast, or your thoughts on the color blue.  And if any of you bring the Twisted Mask That Once Was Jerry Jones onto our laptops, we're going right off the grid for good.

Janie Campbell thinks we should ban athletes from the Internet until this whole business blows over. Her work has appeared in irreverent sports sites around the Internet.

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