Another Scary Side-Effect of COVID: Dumb Jock Syndrome
Some comments about COVID vaccines are setting back public trust in athletes
Athletes have struggled for decades to eliminate the stereotype of the meatslab dumb jock who bullies nerds into doing his homework, harasses women with sleazy leers, and swaggers around with nothing on his mind put sports cars, big bucks, and adulating fans. That degrading and dehumanizing image still exists in many teen movies and TV shows as smirking jocks stalk school hallways looking for dweebs to shove into lockers. Although he first appeared in 1949, Archie comics’ Moose Mason, who often began sentences with “d-uh,” is still the patron saint of dumb jock characters.
High school may have created the belief in that dumb jock stereotype for Americans, but the antics of hard-partying athletes memorialized in books, movies, and TV shows like North Dallas Forty, Semi-Tough, Karate Kid, Ballers, and more have perpetuated the image. Of course, there have been many athletes whose dedication to community and social justice have lifted the image of the athlete to greater heights: Jesse Owens, Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Serena Williams, Colin Kaepernick, and many more. I wish I could list them all because their dedication and sacrifices haven’t just made a huge difference in how the world sees athletes, but they’ve improved the lives of millions. Because of athletes like them, all athletes have higher esteem—and monetary worth—in the public eye.
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But then there are those athletes who wish to pay homage to the dumb jock stereotype through their stances on COVID-19 vaccinations. Their excuses for not getting vaccinated during one of the most deadly pandemics in history are as childish as they are uninformed. I refer to this as “voluntarily uninformed” because they have the technology to gather all the information through their smart phone, the most advanced educational tool in the history of humankind. Listening to them flounder when asked why they aren’t vaccinated is cringy embarrassing, like when a teacher calls on the kid in class they know hasn’t read the assignment but the kid tries to bluff it out anyway.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards