Globe Editorial

‘Real men’: Dumb beer ads, courageous footballers

(Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
February 9, 2010

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Misogynistic and overheated even by the usual standards of NFL advertising, many of this year’s Super Bowl ads treated women merely as obstacles to beer and male enjoyment, and pushed a rather obnoxious, shallow notion of what it means to be a “real man.’’ Luckily, two members of the winning New Orleans Saints squad offered much better examples of what family - and manhood - should be about.

Last Tuesday, Saints linebacker Scott Fujita used the Super Bowl’s media day to discuss his support for gay marriage. It’s a firmly pro-family stance, and a courageous one in the machismo-obsessed NFL.

And Saints quarterback Drew Brees, MVP of the game, spent the moments immediately after it holding his 1-year-old son, who wore headphones to protect him from the noise. Millions watched this touching, personal moment, which showed that athletic prowess and tenderness are far from mutually exclusive.

The advertisers at this year’s Super Bowl pushed a version of manhood mostly about drinking, cars, and trying to escape the responsibilities of family life. But two of the on-field participants told very different stories - stories that will resonate long after the last beer commercial has faded from memory.

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