The Rugby Player as Celebrity
On 2 December 2008 the Daily Mail newspaper considered it newsworthy that Wasps and England outside-half Danny Cipriani had taken his girlfriend out for a kebab. Described by the newspaper as ‘the meal of choice for football fans and drunken lads out on the town’, Cipriani’s choice of food was deemed a national news story. Of course he is not the only ‘celebrity’ whose every move is logged and analysed. The ‘celebrity’ has become a defining feature of our times which in addition to a long-standing historical preoccupation with being famous is now also about celebrities becoming products themselves (Cashmore, 2006). Indeed it was the fact that Cipriani was dating the model/actress Kelly Brook that catapulted him into the sphere of ‘celebrity’ and increased his visibility in other areas of popular culture. Brook herself represents a conspicuous figure in the age of celebrity having previously dated, and been engaged to, actors Jason Statham and Billy Zane respectively. Both these relationships became a staple feature of newspaper gossip columns and magazine spreads. Such spaces have remained the preserve of actors and musicians for many years but not really the place where a rugby player was likely to appear. In this chapter I look at the place of celebrity in contemporary society, the increased visibility of the sporting celebrity and finally at the small number of rugby players who move beyond the sports pages and into the wider celebrity sphere.
KeywordsRugby Player National Team Rugby League Rugby Union British Broadcasting Corporation
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