Rory, Money, Molan and me: A show business story

Matt Cleary Columnist

By Matt Cleary, Matt Cleary is a Roar Expert

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    When Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler go on holiday and take photos of themselves with their shirts off and post them to Instagram, the Internet loses its very mind.

    The pictures go ‘viral’, as they say, and the bodies of three taut, 20-something golf nerds are derided and admired and lusted after in equal measure.

    Such is the power of the world wide web of computers known as the Internet.

    I have known the viral nature of the web on two occasions, good and ill.

    The good one was reaction to a live blog I did for The Guardian about Jarryd Hayne’s first NFL game for the San Francisco 49ers against the Minnesota Vikings in September of 2015.

    I’d used terms like ‘grassed it’ to describe Hayne dropping a punt, and took the piss out of the game because it goes for a very long time and the quarterbacks slide along the ground lest anybody hurt them.

    Jarryd Hayne has made great strides in his quest to play in the NFL

    And because the game was a dud and it was on a Monday night in peak-ratings time, Americans needed an outlet and told each other the blog was funny, and zapped it to each other like a hive of happy bees letting each other in on the tip where the honey is.

    Next day I was interviewed by Sports Illustrated, and ESPN and a dozen WKRPs in Cincinatti. I went on Scott van Pelt’s Sportscenter television program and was internet-famous for fifteen, maybe 20 minutes, thereabouts. And I dinkum thought I could become rich from doing live blogs.

    But The Guardian scrapped it after another one of Jarryd Hayne’s games (a flogging by Pittsburgh Steelers) and probably correctly worked out that it was something that was funny once, but not more than that, like Bart Simpson being the ‘I didn’t do it’ boy.

    And so on.

    The second time I was consumed, and roughly, by an internet virus was when Rory McIlroy tweeted his admiration for former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshwan Lynch.

    Marshwan Lynch is a man who pointedly wouldn’t talk to media because he was too cool for that, and didn’t see the point, and the hell with the media, what had the Romans ever done for us, and all that.

    Marshawn Lynch Oakland Raiders NFL 2017

    This is what happened:

    Firstly, ESPN tweeted: “Marshawn Lynch after every question in his postgame interview, ‘I’m thankful.’”

    To which Rory tweeted: “Love this! Paid to play not answer questions.”

    So then I – who happened to note this exchange while sitting on the couch and tooling about on the Twitter watching telly in my jimmy-jams – had the idle thought that I would go into bat for my tribe, the media, because if we don’t who will.

    And with a view to asking Rory to examine the bigger picture of sports and money and television, and sport being a show business, and all that, suggested to Rory that he query the actual reason he and Marshwan Lynch are multi-millionaire sports people.

    And so I tweeted: “And why exactly is he paid to play, Rory? I play golf, footy. Not paid to do it. But he and you are, because…?”

    To which Rory quickly replied: “Because we’re good at it.”

    Which was a pretty snappy answer. It sort of missed my point, which is probably my fault, I led with the chin and our Rors fairly whacked it out the park.

    And lo did many thousands of his 3.09 million followers mock me vigorously with tweets, piling on in the Way of the Internet, alluding to me being ‘owned’ by Rory, and such like, and it went on, literally, for a month.

    I still get the odd one today.

    It wasn’t hurtful or anything – it was like being mocked by teenagers in space – but I do wish I’d framed the question a bit better.

    So I wrote back: “You and old mate are on the television, in newspapers and magazines. You’re paid to play because of The Media. Quid pro quo, bro.”

    And Rory wrote: “People are interested in our sports regardless of media coverage. Media enhances it I totally agree with you there.”

    Then Rory added: “But [Marshwan] has 50 teammates that can answer Q’s about the game. Media insist that they want him as its a bigger story. Unfair.”

    Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy leads the British Open

    And then Erin Molan, the Channel Nine sports reporter who you might know from such shows as The Footy Show and The Footy Show: Best Bits – wrote: “Correct but media sole purpose to deliver content to fans…without fans doesn’t matter how good you are… cannot make living.”.

    And Rory wrote: “sport and media go hand in hand… Both need each other to maximise potential on both sides.”

    And there we three left it.

    Rory’s Followers, meanwhile, continued to pile in, for days, months, all these teenaged Irish mutts calling me an “eegit” and “bhoy!” and funny things like that. And it was quite funny, if a little bit like being in the eye of an electronic e-storm.

    Absolutely not finding anything funny in me taking Marshwan Lynch to task were many of Marshwan Lynch’s 740,000 followers, who declared that I didn’t know what I was “goddam talkin’ about”, and so on.

    This was, in a sense, a fair cop given that until reading Marshwan Lynch’s name in Rory McIlory’s tweet I’d never heard of Marshwan Lynch, running back from Seattle Seahawks who calls himself “Money”.

    But that wasn’t the point either. I didn’t need to know the bastard.

    The point was Marshwan ‘Money’ Lynch is a multi-millionaire sports person because of the very media that he so disdains.

    Marshwan ‘Money’ Lynch was paid all that money by the Seattle Seahawks because of television, which is media.

    Ironic, Money, no? You hate the thing that pays you?

    Rory McIlroy, the same, is paid by Omega and Nike because Omega and Nike wants their brands displayed on the media upon which Rory McIlroy performs.

    Pro sports are a business. Its Show Business. And Rory isn’t getting millions because he’s good at something, it’s because what he’s good at is on the television, and Nike and Omega see Rory as a way to sell more stuff.

    Fact: That Rory is good at golf is not the reason he’s paid mega-money to play golf.

    It’s because so many people want to consume golf on the television and other media, and thus consume the products they see on the television.

    Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy holds up the Claret Jug after winning the 2014 British Open Golf Championship at Royal Liverpool

    Consider: were Rory the world’s number one macramé man, and he wasn’t on television – because millions of people don’t want to watch macramé man-action no matter how good the macramé man-action man is – then Rory wouldn’t earn squat out of macramé making.

    There is no macramé tour. And even if there was one, the Great God of Television wouldn’t follow it because millions wouldn’t consume it.

    The Great God of Television couldn’t sell ad space to brands who’d advertise on the Television and pay those who own the networks a metric ton of mega-money.

    Netball fans are often on at the media for under-reporting netball. But that’s cart before the horse. If netball were ‘consumed’ more, media would cover it.

    If people are buying – consuming – media, then media boss types will broadcast / write about it.


    Also Fact: Rory and Marshwan Lynch and every single multi-millionaire sports person is wealthy because of television which is media. You can’t say you hate the media and take its money, can you?

    Consider: Marshwan Lynch has a clothing line called ‘Beast Mode’, which he does very well out of.

    People buy Beast Mode hoodies and sweatshirts and socks and togs, and that’s all very well, and good luck to Mr Beast Mode.

    But! If he’s Marshwan Lynch an uber-driver from Oakland, who’s buying his clothes?

    No bastard.

    Marshawn Lynch


    People buy Marshwan Lynch’s clothes because he’s on the television. Which is media. TV is money, ‘Money’ baby.

    As an adjunct to my little tete-a-tete with Rory and Erin Molan and all of Beast Mode’s idiot Seppos fan-people, some other people – journalists, I think – from the very medium of TV, a panel of talking heads on The Golf Channel, no less, decided they would ‘debate’ the ‘issue’ back and forth.

    But they weren’t debating the big picture of money and TV and the sportsperson’s responsibility to acknowledge his wealth comes because of media.

    Rather what most engaged these (I think) ,edia people was that Rory would actually engage a member of the Twittersphere and swap any sort of gibber-jabber with randoms, such that Erin and I sort of were.

    And that missed the point as well.

    And so it was left unsaid that Rory McIlory and Marshwan ‘Money’ Lynch would not be a multi-millionaire sports people were it not for the very media that Marshwan so blithely ignores, and Rory believes just ‘enhances’ his sport.

    Now! What Rory says is true if by enhance Rory means that he’s worth $250 million, as opposed to Nike not giving him a dozen balls if media didn’t cover his sport.

    Fact: The invention called ‘television’ is media. And if there is no television and the resultant sales of advertising thereon, there is no money to pay sports people for doing their thing.

    The millions of dollars per second that companies are charged for ad space on Superbowl Sunday might have perhaps alerted Marshwan and Rory to that, and perhaps made them think there was some sort of quid pro quo to repay the medium that’s made them rich beyond many men’s measure.

    If there is no medium of TV they’re playing for gates and chump-change, don’t matter how good they are it.

    Fact, Jack.

    Matt Cleary
    Matt Cleary

    Matt Cleary is a sports writer from Sydney. He enjoys golf, footy and Four Pines Pale Ale, and spends as much time as conscience allows at Long Reef GC. Tweet him @journomatcleary, or read him at his website.

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    The Crowd Says (3)

    • December 29th 2017 @ 6:53am
      Not so super said | December 29th 2017 @ 6:53am | ! Report

      Reading twitter comments is bad for ones health

    • December 29th 2017 @ 8:21am
      BA Sports said | December 29th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      I imagine if you are calling television media, that is fine, but Marshawn would come back to you and say he doesn’t have a problem with media, he just doesn’t like talking to reporters – a subset of what you have defined as media. Not all of the reporters work in television, so does he have to talk to the non TV reporters?

      And here is a quote from Lynch in 2014

      _”I’ve never seen anybody win the game in the media. But at the same time, I understand what it could do for you, if you wanted to be someone who talks a lot. But that’s not me.

      And I’m not as comfortable, especially at the position I play, making it about me. As a running back, it takes five offensive linemen, a tight end, a fullback and possibly two wide receivers, in order to make my job successful. But when I do interviews, most of the time it’ll come back to me. There are only so many times I can say, ‘I owe it to my offensive linemen,’ or, ‘The credit should go to my teammates,’ before it becomes run down.

      This goes back even to Pop Warner. You’d have a good game and they’d want you to give a couple of quotes for the newspaper, and I would let my other teammates be the ones to talk. That’s how it was in high school, too. At Cal, I’d have my cousin, Robert Jordan, and Justin Forsett do it.”_

      That is an actual quote – which he gave to a columnist – something I gather you have aspired to at some point, so I assume realise that they are part of the media.

      So Lynch doesn’t “blithely ignore” television media – he (usually) chooses not to talk to all reporters, regardless of the medium. And reporters don’t pay his wage… TV does apparently…


    • December 29th 2017 @ 8:59am
      Kangajets said | December 29th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      A good read

      But the author wouldn’t have a job unless there were sports stars to write about

      And round and round we go

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