It is an exquisite enigma for sport, its followers and particularly the journalists employed to inform its followers that the more authorities attempt to control its stars, the more opportunity they have to express themselves beyond the control of those authorities.
Media access to top sportsmen and women is more tightly controlled than ever.
Long gone are the days when reporters would simply phone coaches or players for comments on games. Instead, such comment is either carefully provided by their club or association or the coach/player is made available at an all-in press conference, often where each reporter has a strictly-controlled limit of questions.
However, at the same time as this media strangulation, is the increasing availability of social media platforms for those same stars to express, often ill-thought-through, opinions.
Thanks to the wonders of predominantly Japanese and Korean technological companies, combined with reliable internet providers, or Optus, anybody can express any opinion to the world, however ill-thought-through, or indeed, stupid.
So imagine a high profile triple Olympic swimming champion for example, watching tri-nations rugby with a few friends when Australia inflict a narrow win over South Africa.
To describe the opposition to her close friends using a word that rhymes with maggots but begins with an 'f' would be crude and ignorant. But to broadcast such a comment to her 122,772 Twitter followers could result in widespread public backlash, a lost lucrative sponsorship deal with luxury car-maker Jaguar and a tearful media conference a couple of days later.
No need to identify the star concerned, we'll just call her Stephanie Lice for clarity.
Similarly, imagine a high-profile, cashed-up, code-jumping football star who happens to be homophobic.
Let's call this fictional figure Ishmael Falou.
Media access to such a figure would be rigorously coordinated by his national sporting code as well as the clubs of whichever football code he chooses to milk, for example (to pick teams completely at random), the Melbourne Storm, NSW Waratahs and Greater Western Sydney Giants.
But if Falou suddenly feels inclined to share his homophobia with his 125,268 Twitter followers, he is free to do so. Unless his internet is provided by Optus obviously.
As my fellow columnist Brian Roe pointed out on Sunday, if a high profile footballer happened to be both president of the AFL Players Association and a member of the sport's competitions committee, he would have plenty of platforms from which to voice his opinion on any rules he deemed to be, what's the word ..., oh yeah, stupid.
And yet that player, let's call him Peter Dangafeld, chooses to do so to his 102,989 Twitter followers.
And it's not just social media. Blanket television coverage of sports by multiple cameras means players are rarely beyond scrutiny at any point during matches.
So if, for instance, a footballer - let's call him Justin Martyn - chooses to make a snorting gesture towards someone who had previously been caught on film taking drugs, or a cricketer - let's call him Callum Bamcroft - decides to stuff some sandpaper down his pants (for whatever reason), there's a fairly strong likelihood it will be caught on camera.
It is particularly amusing when this happens in the AFL since that is the national sporting body which seeks to control its over-manned media pack more than any other.
I once did an interview with a high-profile full-forward during which his club's media manager, who had insisted on being present, meticulously wrote down every question I asked.
It would be unfair to identify either the player or his club, but, as it had been made clear to me in advance that I was not to ask about his latest tattoos or then girlfriend Jacinta Campbell, I was largely limited to such subjects as the fame associated with his No.23 guernsey or being better known by his nickname, of Buddy.
Another time, and I swear I'm not making this up, a certain AFL coach instructed me not to include anything interesting from an interview he had reluctantly agreed to lest it should detract from a similar one he had lined up with The Herald Sun.
Again, there would be nothing to gain from identifying the coach in question. And it wouldn't be fair to him after all the negative media coverage he received when defecting to Fremantle after losing two grand finals. To Geelong and Collingwood. In 2009 and 2010.
Us journalists are both devious and lazy and a social media platform like Twitter feeds both traits.
Professional sport clubs and administrations may devote immense time and resources in attempting to control the public image of their lucrative commodities but all that work can be undone with a device every one of them carries in their pocket.
High profile sports stars often don't realise that every time they hop onto Twitter, Facebook or Instagram they are effectively putting out a press release.
Some also don't always acknowledge that there is a significant difference between free speech and hate speech.
And as Stephanie Lice, Ishmael Falou, Peter Dangafeld, Justin Martyn, Callum Bamcroft and many others with very similar names have discovered, there's no point hiding behind media managers if you're going to broadcast your actions or opinions to the world by alternative means.