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The Media's Misrepresentation of Jocks

Updated on January 4, 2018


We have all seen a movie in a high school setting in which there are many stereotypes portrayed. For example, many movies in a high school setting show the various cliques that exist in high school. Often times, there are the nerds who are portrayed as smart and geeky with glasses and calculators in their pockets and pencils in in their ear. Also, there are the goth kids who always wear black clothing and listen to rock music. Additionally, there are the jocks who play sports and portrayed as unintelligent. However, these stereotypes could not be further from the truth.

An example of a movie in which there was a segment of the cast portrayed as jocks is in the movie Revenge of The Nerds. In this movie, the jocks are often shown doing actions that would be considered dumb by many. For example, in one scene one of the jocks is throwing another person out of the window. Also, frequently throughout the movie, they yell and make incoherent noises. Below is a picture of a jock from this movie.

Image of a Jock in the Movie "Revenge of the Nerds"

Even in advertisements, the stereotype of a jock being dumb exists. Below is an advertisement from the sports equipment retailer "Play it Again Sports" poking fun at dumb jocks. As you can see in the video clip, the commercial begins by asking the two football players if they would buy a football for 85 dollars. Now, of course this is an unreasonable price for a football; yet, the commercial shows the jocks answering the question (after a lengthy pause - possibility suggesting that the jocks need time to process the simply question) and saying that they would indeed by a football at the unreasonable price of 85 dollars. At the end of the commercial, the narrator even says "Don't be a dumb jock, come to Play It Again Sports".

Advertisement Poking Fun at Dumb Jocks

Another movie in which an athlete was portrayed as being stupid is in the movie The Longest Yard. In the scene below, the football player makes several actions that may be considered unintelligent. For example, instead of saying "he broke my nose", he said "he broked-ed my nose". The movie is suggesting that this football player did not learn proper English and is unable to coherently formulate/pronounce his sentences.

Representation of a Football Player in the Movie The Longest Yard

There is no debate that the media portrays jocks and other athletes to be dumb. However, as previously mention, this is not reality. In fact, according to an NCAA public service announcement (below), division 1 student athletes have higher SAT and ACT scores than college bound students. Also, African American males that are student athletes are 10% more likely to graduate than those that are not student athletes.

In addition, according to the International Journal of Sports Management (as seen by the graphic below), high school athletes outperform non-athletes in terms of their academics. For example, high school athletes are likelier to have a higher GPA than non-athletes. Also, high school athletes are likelier to graduate than non-athletes. Finally, high school athletes have a higher attendance rate than non-athletes. All in all, these facts disprove the false narrative presented by the media that jocks are unintelligent.

Below is a video of a response given by Stanford Graduate and NFL player, Richard Sherman, when he was asked about student athletes. He explains how the average student has ample time to study and do other enjoyable activities. Whereas, a student athlete must balance both their school work and their athletic schedule; thus, leaving very little time to study and do other academic activities necessary to achieve academic success. Rather than the media portraying these athletes to be dumb, they should be praising them for going above and beyond in their daily activities.

The Life of a Student Athlete by Richard Sherman (NFL player & Stanford graduate)


In conclusion, the media has created the false narrative that jocks are unintelligent. There are countless movies/commercials in which the jocks/athletes are portrayed to be dumb. Yet, this is not the case. As proven by the context above, jocks/athletes are more likely to be better educated than those students that do not participate in athletics.

© 2018 Eric DeMario


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