For those who either haven’t been on twitter recently or don’t follow any other track sources other than the Oval Office, shouts out the thirty-one day one followers, Max Kellerman had a few things to say about track athletes a few days ago. The gist of his argument was that the best athletes in America naturally choose to play revenue sports early on, and only choose track after they fail to make it in basketball or football.
This isn’t a new argument; people have using this same logic to explain why the United States falls behind the rest of the world in other sports, especially soccer. Basically talking heads like Kellerman point out that naturally dominate athletes like LeBron or Adrian Peterson would be gifted at anything they choose, and since they choose the sports that make money and are more popular, the rest of sports in America will always miss out on the best talent. Look, I think this argument has some merit, look at RG3, he could have been an Olympic level talent in the hurdles, but chose to pursue the NFL. Even with all of his injuries that might have been a good call on his part, even a backup quarterback salary tops any deal he would have ever gotten in the track world. This leads to Kellermans second, way spicier take, that track and field athletes are less tough, less talented, and have no discernable dexterity or quick thinking skills.
Obviously this take is ridiculous. Christian Coleman in college ran a 40 time in the Tennessee indoor football practice facility more than .1 seconds faster than any NFL athlete has in the history of the NFL combine. I’ve posted the video a few times, but I’ll still include it because it’s incredible (plus he’s maybe innocent of the drug stuff, and was definitely clean when he was at Tennessee). Furthermore, how in the hell could you ever see a video of a pole-vaulter or hurdler and say they don’t have dexterity or skills outside of fast twitch muscles, ridiculous. Obviously I could go on and on about how asinine of a take this was, but that would kind of miss the whole underlying issue of what Kellerman’s take shows.
The fact of the matter is ESPN doesn’t even have a link on their page to track and field coverage. They have an Esports and Cricket but no tab for our sport. Watch the Kellerman clip again, no one reacts like that’s a hot take while he’s bashing track and field greats such as Usain Bolt. Obviously this isn’t an unpopular opinion in the ESPN community.
Instead of pointing out the obvious truth, that Kellerman’s so high off fumes from his head being so far up his own @$! that he doesn’t need to stay off the weed, maybe we should do a little soul searching as to why this sentiment is out in the public in the first place. Maybe we should wonder why that even though track and field is the most popular high school sport by participation, that we can’t get that fan base to care about our NCAA and pro athletes. Maybe we should consider why track and field is one of the most popular sports during the Olympics, but the U.S. championships cannot even fill half a stadium. Maybe instead of complaining about Kellerman, we should ask why every aspect of our sport is behind a pay wall. I’d love to hear what you all think about ways to improve viewership and fan buy in, but save the “How could Kellerman think we aren’t athletes!” The man probably doesn’t even know that there are other events than the 100m dash. Lets hold our sports media and the people that cover our sport to higher standards, and put out an interesting product to the general public. Then maybe we’ll have a Stephen A Smith type that will be willing to debate Kellerman, and actually get some coverage for the sport we love.
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