Eriksen, football and the entertainment society – Explica .co
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Eurocup. June 12, 2021. 42nd minute of the match between Finland and Denmark. Danish player Christian Eriksen suddenly collapses. Doctors arrive immediately and perform heart massage. Dismayed, some players cry, others pray. It wouldn’t be the first sudden death on a plot. The scruple is not less in the stands.
As medics attempt to resuscitate the player, whose heart has stopped beating, up to eight footballers on his team form a barrier, surrounding him, so that the cameras do not capture his agony. Also some members of the medical team hold a sheet so that the prying eye of the cameras cannot broadcast the tragic episode.
A few minutes later, the Inter player is taken on a stretcher to the locker room. The toilet accompanies him, lifting a sheet on each side of the stretcher, while other players position themselves in front, as if to escort him, to continue to respect their partner’s privacy.
The video surveillance company
A few years ago, games were broadcast with only a few cameras. Today there are dozens of them. Without a doubt, the multiple cameras offer more perspectives on any game and so the viewer at home can recreate a setting seen from different angles, to elucidate whether or not it was a penalty, whether the hand was intentional or not.
But there is something Big Brother about all the media editing. Because the spectator has got used to seeing what is beyond the game: for example, what face the attacker makes when he replaces him, the protests of the coach in front of an arbitration decision, the quarrels between two teammates who do not understand each other.
The player, more and more aware of his overexposure, manages his gestures, holds back or, on the contrary, runs towards the camera to celebrate his goal with anger. With so many cameras, the dramaturgy increases, to hide or to express. Even in the locker room tunnel, footballers are not immune to scrutiny.
We have gone from the âremote controlled societyâ to the âvideo surveillance societyâ in which, under the pretext that there is no spectacle or consumption (and profitability) without an image, and that it contains the truth , the public figure must be subject to constant visual inspection.
The media, which pay for broadcasting, obviously want to show more and more of it, but to what extent? The unexpected ensemble reached all homes. When Eriksen was taken off the field, the most dramatic moments repeated themselves over and over again.
The episode quickly turned into a melodrama. Amidst the worry, a photo emerged which apparently showed the player to be conscious, encouraging hope. On television he contacted Elche’s doctor and asked him about the seriousness of the case. The show gave way to another journalist who followed the social media route: Eriksen’s name quickly became a trending topic.
That even Cristiano Ronaldo himself was praying for his speedy recovery, hoping they would see each other again on the pitch soon, certainly increased media interest and even many media gave the Portuguese gesture the character of the title. Presenting the reactions of the most famous footballers to the news amplified the impact of the event while allowing an adaptation to local consumption. In England, the message from Harry Kane, captain of his national team and team-mate at Tottenham for so many years, was spreading. And so, in each country, the player with the most media coverage was selected.
The power of images
As journalists know, “there is no news if there is no picture”. While the episode undoubtedly had more of an impact in Europe, within minutes it was beaming around the world. Obviously, if the cardiac arrest had happened to a Thai player in the national championship, he wouldn’t even have deserved a brief note on TV or in sports newspapers. In fact, these types of woes do occur with some frequency, as a recent study has shown. But what happens at the Euro is another question.
The speed with which certain information circulates on the networks is a relevant indication on the subjects most suitable for immediate dissemination, as well as on which countries, which activities, which situations are still the nerve centers of media attention. Because, from an anthropological point of view, we cannot ignore that the episode happens to an individual who is a man, who is a footballer, who is European and who plays in a television show that aspires – like the World Cup – to be consumed (that is, paid for) by millions of people.
The context is not trivial as it is only in certain situations that there are endless cameras ready to take us live to the distressed wife of the victim who cries uncontrollably, while Kjaer, the captain of the national team, kisses him. And it is only in some places that there are so many photographers that someone manages to bypass the human screen made by the players and insert their telephoto lens between the legs of the footballers, to capture the face of the Danish man. unconscious on the ground. These are also the images that circulated the most on the networks, while Eriksen was being transported by the toilets.
When official FIFA media reported that the player was stable, people caught their breath. But in the minutes and hours that followed the incident, an interesting phenomenon occurred: many people expressed their indignation on the networks that the cameras did not stop offering the episode, without respecting the wishes of the players who have done everything to preserve your partner’s privacy.
It also turned out that, in the field, during the agonizing 15 minutes that the resuscitation lasted, many fans criticized those who recorded with their mobiles. The spontaneous initiative of the Danish players is a sufficient symptom of the exhaustion they experience with their media overexposure. But no less significant is the reaction of viewers and spectators to the spectacle of a tragic moment.
The episode shows the blurred lines between the footballer’s right to privacy and the viewer’s right to information.
The limits of the show
The game shows with multiple cameras and broadcast around the world, the ability to record with a mobile phone and upload the content to networks, VAR, YouTube … all this increases the technological media coverage of players, and they are developing their tactics to preserve not only their privacy but their ability to shape their image, which they know is essential in a grassroots sport in which millions of people consume the most insignificant aspect of footballers’ lives every day. The viewer is used to cameras that go further and further, and perhaps above all justifies that the player charges millions to provide a spectacle that must be exhibited without limits.
But where does the show start and end? We saw live that a man was torn between life and death, but also that the protagonists of this game – the players themselves and part of the fans – expressed their doubts with that, anyway, little no matter what happens, the show must go on.
This article originally appeared on The Conversation. Read the original.
Alberto del Campo Tejedor does not receive a salary, does not do consultancy work, does not own shares, does not receive funding from any company or organization that can benefit from this article, and he has stated that he is missing relevant links. beyond the cited academic position.