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SBD/August 20, 2014/Media
Little Leaguer Mo'Ne Davis Graces SI's National Cover, But Is Media Attention Too Much?
Published August 20, 2014
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TOO MUCH, TOO SOON? In N.Y., Jeré Longman notes attention from the public and the news media "has been enormous and ceaseless." Davis is "driving the ratings for ABC and ESPN during the series and, as of Tuesday, had been featured atop the front page of The Philadelphia Inquirer for five consecutive days." But Davis’ coaches have "begun to try to ease pressure and expectation, striking a balance between making her available to tell her engaging story and protecting her so that she can enjoy herself." Davis' coach Steve Bandura said the media requests were "wearing her out." But yesterday she "joined teammates for interviews with ESPN and BET." Asked if she was enjoying herself, Davis said, "Yes I am. Sometimes it gets annoying, but I am enjoying it" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/20). ESPNW's Melissa Isaacson wrote under the header, "How Much Is Too Much Attention At The Little League World Series?" Davis has been "quite open in expressing that all the attention is not fun." She is "seemingly as cool as any professional athlete," but even "most professional athletes are not on every 'SportsCenter' countdown and promo for a week solid." Davis' mother, Lakeisha McLean, said, "I feel bad that Mo'Ne can't really enjoy it the way she wants to and is used to because of the media and everything. They are kids and just want to have fun." Little League parent Mike Adams said, "I don't think you can possibly realize until you're here the amount of pressure there is. It's so big now with TV and social media, it gets out of your control" (ESPNW.com, 8/19). ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said, "I hate the attention she’s getting. ... I don't believe anybody 13 years of age should be put in this kind of spotlight. I don't like it." He admitted that may sound "a bit awry considering the fact that I work for the 'Worldwide Leader.'" Smith added, "I'm not talking about the attention as it pertains to her exploits on the field. I’m talking about the interviews, I’m talking about the questions. I don’t like that" ("First Take," ESPN2, 8/20).
THIS IS HER MOMENT: SI's Albert Chen as part of this week's cover story notes Davis has "received tweets" from Michelle Obama, Tennis HOFer Billie Jean King, Thunder F Kevin Durant, Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen and rappper Lil Wayne, while also receiving TV talk show invites from Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and Queen Latifah (SI, 8/25 issue).