Sports/Popular Culture: Is Elizabeth Lambert a Victim?

I already wrote a post about Elizabeth Lambert, the newest? member of the Sports Hall of Shame, for her unsportspersonlike behavior during a recent college soccer game. But I had another perspective I wanted to share because of all the attention she has gotten in the media.

I actually feel sorry for Ms. Lambert. Don?t get me wrong. She deserved whatever punishment her coach and her school?s athletic department chooses to mete out. Personally, I think suspension is much too lenient; a public apology to the opposing players and team (she just gave) and expulsion from the team? would seem appropriate.

But my sympathy goes out to her for the much greater punishment that she is suffering at the hands of the ravenous sensationalistic news media, notably, the 24-hour cable-news channels. I can just imagine the drooling mouth of this rapacious beast salivating over another big kill. Ms. Lambert will be publicly humiliated and flogged by this beast.

My question is: Does she deserve it? Certainly, if she had acted so deplorably in an era before the Internet, no such public punishment would have resulted. Tonya Harding, whose organized attack on one of her competitors, Nancy Kerrigan, was much more sinister and injurious, yet she quickly slipped away into private ignominy. Unsportspersonlike behavior occurs daily on the fields and courts of high-school, collegiate, and professional sports. One of her crimes is simply that she was caught on video and those images were transmitted virally on youtube and beyond. Sadly, many professional male athletes, Michael Vick for one,? have been forgiven and once again idolized for much worse transgressions. Is there redemption in Ms. Lambert?s future? I doubt it because she didn?t just defy our notions of sportspersonship, she violated our most basic beliefs about how women should behavior (however antiquated they may be).

Is she a perpetrator of shameful behavior? Absolutely. But she is also a victim of a media that thrives ? dare I say, survives ? on such lurid episodes.

Maybe she is a bad person and that her behavior in that soccer game is her modus operandi. But I?m going to guess that, though she is a fierce ? and decidedly dirty ? competitor on the field, she is likely an intelligent, hard-working, and nice enough person off the field who is loved by her family and friends.

So let her suffer reasonable punishment. Let her accept the public flogging she is currently getting from the media, whether justified or not. But then let?s realize that, in a world with so many serious problems, what she did is really so undeserving of our attention and interest. Let Ms. Lambert hopefully learn from this experience, rebuild her life and perhaps even return to the soccer pitch. Let us turn our attention to matters of real import to us. And, of course, let the sensationalistic media move on to the next feeding frenzy that will likely come to down the pike in the very near future.

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4 thoughts on “Sports/Popular Culture: Is Elizabeth Lambert a Victim?”

  1. Montana says:

    Elizabeth Lambert is a junior at the University of New Mexico, and plays for their soccer team the Lobos originally from California (too bad for California). So, this loser knows they are going in to a game that they will most likely lose and since they do not have the talent to score they resort to this kind of play, it has very minor thought to it than let?s say passisng the ball through your opponents defense and scoring a goal.

    The other issue is the where were the referees, were they all older white men with their tongues out, enamored and unable to call the game objectively (this game had so many penalties that did not get called), I mean what are they getting paid to do. Who has paid these guys off? Do we have to change the game where only women referees can call women games. After watching the video someone was paid off, that is my conclusion.

    And Lizzy, watch you back and please stay out of soccer (you real should be banned, the game does not need people like you in it), so many will be gunning for you now. Who knows maybe you were just drumming up business for your ?Occupational Therapy practice?, yah good luck with that, I doubt your bed side manner is any different from your sportsmanship.

  2. bigbuddy says:

    I like the fact she can fight back !She has more fans that like her !

  3. That was a fascinating read|. Your insights were very educational and made me reconsider the recent trends in these areas. If only more writers are as informed and as passionate about informing everyone relating to these issues as you, we aspiring journalists would not get a really bad rep. Thank you for expressing your self so articulately. You made my day.

  4. @Egyptian Tarot: Thanks for your kind words. They mean a great deal to me.

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