Anyhow, Kriegel's point is that Mantle acted more out of control than Brett Favre or Tiger Woods, "yet Mantle remains loved and revered while Favre and Woods have become punchlines." He also argues that "unlike Favre, Mantle didn’t have to deal with TMZ or Deadspin. His misbehavior wasn’t merely tolerated; it was journalistically disappeared."
I don't think this is a good thing. In fact, I would argue that Mantle might have gotten help for his drinking if he had been held to some sort of journalistic standard. The very same media that lionized him as the golden boy, and took his side in 1961 against Roger Maris, knew what a creep Mantle could be, especially if he were boozing. Yet they didn't let their readers see that. The press even attacked "Ball Four" Jim Bouton for being the only person to dare to write that Mantle wasn't exactly a saint.
And to what end? Mantle didn't get help for his drinking until late in his life. In the meantime, he got to grope countless random women, and make a fool of himself drinking in public, with no fear it would be covered. After going to Betty Ford, he did speak out to tell others not to do what he did. But maybe Mantle would still be alive and serving as a Yankee elder statesman if he had to face some sort of accountability, whether it be through the Yankees or the press, much earlier in his life.
After all, Kriegel, the author of the great book "Namath," ought to remember that Joe Namath finally got help for his own drinking problem after he was seen drunk on national TV, trying to get Suzy Kolber to kiss him. (And how innocent that sounds as compared to Favre's creepy sexting!)
Actually, I would argue the opposite. Even now, unless you're A-Rod, if you're a big enough star, with enough power, and the media needs access to you to do their jobs, you can get away with being a jerk for a long, long time, until 1) somebody has physical evidence on you, and 2) the MSM is willing to write about it.
Not only can’t you apply today’s standards to yesteryear’s heroes, you can’t apply today’s standards to today’s heroes. Not if you want heroes. The evolution of technology, journalism and popular expectations have all conspired to ensure there will be no more Mantles.
Nor will there be any Favres or Tigers or Jordans (remember, by the end, he, too, was being taken to court by one of his goumares). And you can forget about any Babes or DiMaggios.
Look at how long Favre and Tiger and Jordan themselves got away with it. Not forever, but long enough. And the mainstream media will help you protect that image, too. Remember, the MSM was ready to bury the Tiger Thanksgiving story when TMZ did their thing. And look at how many sportswriters (hi, Peter King!) are still trying to protect Favre.
It's hard to know whether Mantle was better or worse than other athletes of his ilk. But I do know that if his bad boy behavior had been exposed by the media at the time, he wouldn't have been able to continue his misdeeds for decades.
What do you think? Tell us about it!