Navigating Sensitivity: Addressing the Reaction to Taylor Swift’s Presence at NFL Games – Encouraging a Balanced Perspective. RR

   

 We don’t hear complaints when male celebrities are prominently featured at sporting events. But when Taylor Swift appears at NFL games, a segment of people lose their minds.

The multiple Grammy winner was all over social media ahead of Saturday’s game, the NFL’s main accounts included. Got prominent play during the game, too, with NBC’s crew panning to them in a suite, cheering big plays. When the musical superstar was shown on the Jumbotron, fans in the stadium went into a frenzy.

Yet Eminem’s presence at the Detroit Lions playoff game last weekend didn’t prompt the overheated vitriol that Taylor Swift’s appearances at Kansas City Chiefs games do.

“That’s the thing that’s disenchanting people with sports now,” Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy, now a broadcaster, whined last week. “There’s so much on the outside coming in — entertainment value and different things taking away from what really happens on the field.”

But when Swift dares intrude on the NFL, a segment of people lose their ever-loving minds.

Swift has been called “Yoko Ono,” accused of having a negative impact on boyfriend Travis Kelce and, by extension, the Chiefs. She’s been dismissed as a bandwagon-hopper. And in the most ludicrous criticism of all, there are some who’ve suggested she’s using Kelce and the NFL to boost her own profile.

Yes, because the most famous woman on the planet, whose $1 billion-plus Eras Tour helped fuel U.S. consumer spending last year, needs the help.

“Taylor Swift is a scapegoat for all of the male grievances of a shifting gender order in the NFL. And the broader culture,” Cooky added. “This story is, in some ways, not a story about Taylor Swift but a story about fragile masculinity among sports fans and the residuals of old-school masculinity in some corners of fandom.”

The dads, Brads, Chads and Dungys will no doubt shriek at the suggestion they’re thin-skinned because they don’t want their viewing experience “ruined” by Swift. (“I just wanna watch the game!” says Joe Dude, who also thinks the ManningCast is awesome and guffawed at the many close-ups of Andy Reid’s frozen mustache.)

And despite women making up nearly half of the NFL’s fanbase, as we have for the better part of a decade, we’re still treated as an amusement to be indulged.

“Taylor Swift is not just the girlfriend in the booth sitting next to Kelce’s mom and cheering on her man,” added Cooky, a self-proclaimed Swiftie whose favorite album, Reputation, is centered around Swift’s refusal to accept narratives crafted for her by others. “She’s also this really powerful global phenomenon.”


If these things are truly impacting your ability to enjoy a game, or sports in general, the problem isn’t Swift or anyone else. The problem is you.

“What is the matter with people? The toxic masculinity that shows up in my Twitter timeline, my X timeline, because she’s having fun at a football game. I honestly don’t understand it,” NFL Network host Rich Eisen said earlier this week.

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