In many cases, the sports that are largely ignored in the U.S. are equally deserving of national exposure and coverage, because they demand the same level of natural talent, skill, and expertise as those high-profile sports that enjoy extensive national coverage.
Especially in the wake of recent revelations and scandals arising in the major American sports involving use of steroids, violent assaults on women, driving under the influence of alcohol, and federal convictions for those types of crimes as well as for cruelty to animals have undermined the traditional reputation of professional athletes as role models in modern American society. To date, no such controversies have plagued any of the lesser-appreciated sports in the U.S. In that regard, surfing in particular is associated with health, vitality, and natural physical fitness that is not at all likely to fall prey to illegal or performance-enhancing drug use in the sport. Furthermore, unlike the higher-profile team sports, surfing requires little equipment besides a surfboard and no facilities other than access to an appropriate beach; nor is an individual dependent on the participation of others to enjoy the sport.
In terms of the talents and abilities it requires, surfing is just as legitimate a sport as those that enjoy national media attention. In many respects, surfing and other sports for which little opportunity exists for athletes beyond the collegiate level exemplify the attitudes and values Americans expect professional athletes to uphold more than the high- profile sports that dominate national media attention.