Why are they wearing makeup?

I was watching the first NFL game of the season on Thursday night - Green Bay versus Chicago - happy to see that football was back at last.

As the network returned from commercial at the beginning of the second half, the cameras focused first on the two booth announcers - legendary commentator Al Michaels and former NFL receiver Chris Collinsworth - and then onto their sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya.

As I watched, something occurred to me:

Michaels and Collinsworth were wearing makeup. I could see it as clear as day.

And Tafoya was wearing a lot of makeup. A ton of makeup. Her face looked like it had been painted onto her head.

For years I’ve been told that makeup is required when you appear on television. Some combination of the lights and camera require it, but then it occurred to me:

None of the players of the field - many of whom are the object of constant, intense close-ups, wear makeup. None of the coaches - many of whom are well into their 60’s and 70’s - wear makeup, and they are constantly featured in closeup. Even the referees don’t wear makeup.

They all look fine. Some of them look great. A few of them have become specifically known for their good looks. I’ve been in the room when women have swooned over Tom Brady during a telecast, despite the fact that he’s appearing on television without makeup.

What gives?

The same holds true for every sport, including women’s sports. The players in the NBA and WNBA don’t wear makeup when they play, and they all look great,. Their coaches and trainers don’t wear makeup, and they, too, look perfectly fine. The same holds true for men’s and women’s soccer and tennis.

No makeup whatsoever, and yet they all look great on television.

Why do the commentators in the booths and the sideline reporters need to paint enormous amounts of makeup on their faces in order to appear on television while the athletes, coaches, and referees who they are covering don’t?

I don’t get it.

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