When Floyd Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao last weekend there was a lot to get annoyed about. Mayweather’s lack of contrition for his appalling history of domestic abuse or Pacquiao’s post-fight sour grapes, for example. Instead though what annoyed me most was the way people who aren’t normally sports fans got involved.
I’m well aware that this may lead me to come across as arrogant and condescending to those who only take notice of sport when it’s a big deal- like someone who tells you they were listening to your favourite band back when they were playing in Manchester pubs for free- and perhaps that’s because I am. But the way in which coverage is dumbed down around major sporting events, and you find yourself having to wince as you nod your way through painful conversations where someone you barely know claims England would’ve won the World Cup if there weren’t any foreigners in the Premier League, or that the fact Mayweather chooses to avoid being hit makes him a bad boxer.
Come Sunday morning social media was awash with ridiculous conspiracy theories from people who probably didn’t know 24 hours earlier that people other than doctors can administer jabs. Apparently the judges scores were read out in wrong order, with all three actually awarding Pacquiao a clear victory; hence why every pundit on TV and radio thought Mayweather had comfortably triumphed. If you know nothing about sport, at least listen to someone who does.
TV stations are in a constant battle for ratings and when they’ve parted with big bucks to secure the rights for premier sporting events it stands to reason that they want to attract extra viewers, people who wouldn’t normally watch football or boxing or whatever. They’re certainly the worst for oversimplifying things, which is understandable, but still extremely annoying. British coverage of the Super Bowl is a prime example. If we’re staying up until four in the morning, at least have the courtesy to assume we know who the quarterback is. Perhaps sports fans’ love for sport is costing them in this respect, as they’ll watch it no matter how bad the coverage is.
I would encourage anyone who doesn’t follow sport to do so. It’s great, and I honestly don’t know what I’d do with my life if I didn’t spend so much of it watching, reading or talking about sport. But please, save your entry-level opinions for someone who doesn’t know better, and TV stations, let the famous pundits you pay so much speak freely and get detailed. I’d much rather watch Kevin Pietersen, Shane Warne and Mahela Jayawardene get specific and hands-on than have Alan Shearer telling me Alan Pardew will be annoyed his side lost.
I might be a terrible sport snob, but there’s plenty of us out there.