Tuesday, September 26, 2017

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: The Corruption Of Sports

I have previously noted and complained about the economic
corruption of professional sports. My complaint is not that
athletes should not be paid well, but like any excesses, lack
of self-restraint leads to diminishment.

The use of drugs, frequent other run-ins with the law, and
other controversies involving highly-paid professional athletes
are well-known. In a free society, perhaps, they are mostly
unavoidable consequences when young men and women are
given such excesses of money and celebrity without the
preparation to live with them.

It is not just the athletes, but the whole contemporary structure
of U.S. professional sports, including owners, managers,
coaches ad team staff, which are always at risk.

Now we have a new dimension to the excess --- the politicizing
of athletes and sports teams in the current national partisan
carnival emanating from Washington, DC.

Professional sports are very big business. Not only game
tickets, but stadium sales, retail merchandising, and, of course,
the game-changing broadcast revenues. We are speaking here
of billions of dollars.

Whether or not you like President Trump, his policies or even
his tweets, the playing field should not be an ideological arena.
No one questions the civil rights of players, but the national
anthem is not a venue for acceptable protest.

A political party leadership that chooses such an inherently
non-partisan, non-controversial institution as a springboard
to organize its otherwise legitimate right to express protest
not only risks its own goals and aspirations unwisely, it
also risks, in this case, the well-being of professional sports
itself --- with which it has no legitimate business.

Sports fans cross all political and ideological lines. Intrude on
that, and watch how fast very large numbers of fans will
express their “vote” by staying home and turning off.

Copyright (c) 2017 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.

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