Re: Pre-internet can we honestly recollect a former player?
people are generally sheep and do not think much for themselves. their opinions and perceptions, more often than not, are easily shaped by the views of others. this is probably more true when you are a young kid watching sports. they are afraid to take a stand and voice unpopular view points.
so there is some degree of mind manipulation and crowd following. before the internet, tv commentators, sports journalists, radio shows, traditional media, etc. had an impact in morphing a lot of these perceptions. in some ways, a player's overall reputation was more important than what the hell he actually did.
but post internet, things changed radically, not just in sports but pretty much everything. formerly less popular perspectives suddenly grabbed attention, and crticism of just about anything became a focus. people are still sheep though because they are still easily persuaded, but just by different sources.
these days, the tone of criticism is a lot harsher. guys in the past were fortunate they didn't have to deal with this bullshit. a player today may drop 35-8-8 and still get his ass toasted on the internet. that type of lynching didn't really exist before so recollections might had been more favorable for some guys who were systematically protected.