I have to start this post by saying thank you to Jon for the kind words. You can probably tell I’m better at yelling my points with a beer in my hand over a camp fire. More importantly I think we are finding common ground which is comforting. The subject is almost beaten into submission.
The first take away from Jon’s most recent post is the point that professional sports leagues should require an additional governing body to ensure the league is moral and ethically run. I still disagree. The MLS has a governing body over them called FIFA. FIFA is the epitome of corruption, evil and all things unholy. They make the NCAA look like the girl scouts. Jon could have built his entire argument out of FIFA and the NCAA but choose to attack western culture instead.
The professional sports leagues in the U.S. do have a governing body and unfortunately it’s the federal government. (Don’t roll your eyes… I’m as pessimistic about this as you are. Unfortunately it’s all we got.) Now this point I’m about to make is a slippery slope. If a pro sports franchise wants public money to build a stadium, then the team better listen when the government comes calling. Example: The NFL Labor Situation. The owners locked out the players, stopping the off-season and it may cancel the 2011 season. If the lockout lasts into the fall when the season begins, the owners can be forced to pay the cities for the use of the publicly financed stadia. The league is getting paid TV revenue whether there is a season or not. My point is that the feds have the preverbal hammer; they just need the balls to use it. Just like every other big company in the country.
Now, your counter argument is, “but government AND big business are both corrupt!” No sh*t! That’s why I watch football on weekends instead of CNN. My head would explode. Feel free to join me Sunday mornings for football, bloody mary’s and omelets.
Jon’s next point: “We should be worshiping teachers, firemen, policemen, scientists, engineers, and doctors. Instead, we venerate pro athletes, actors, and rock stars. This, my friends, is a true question of priorities.” Completely agree and tried to make the same point. Moving on.
I can and will argue that steroids saved baseball. After the strike in 1994-95, fans did not embrace baseball. Attendance was at an all time low, fans were pissed, and the league was considering contraction shortly after. Then in 1998, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire decided to go blow for blow on a quest for 61* homeruns. The summer of 1998 captured the fans interest and brought them back to baseball to see something “special”. In hindsight we realized we needed to replace “special” with “fake” and a lot of people soured on the game once again. Fans felt and still feel betrayed. The players cheated while the owners and good ol’ Bud turned a blind eye.
The Seattle Mariners and their minor league affiliates have suspended more players than almost any other for steroid use since testing became tighter. In the last 5 years, this team has been last in almost every offensive category. As a result of poor offense and an inept front office, the team has had the worst attendance in the history of Safeco Field. Wins will bring the fans back eventually. 500 foot homeruns and 12-10 scores will bring them back now. I can go to a game and see a 1-0 pitching duel and leave satisfied. I can appreciate defense and a 10 strike out game. The moron fans that I have been berating the last couple days can’t.
To recap the week of debate:
-Society values pop culture icons and athletes over people who provide a larger benefit to our community. This is a paradigm that only parents and a change in culture can revolutionize. (I don’t think it ever will)
-Professional sports provide civic pride, increase commerce and are more to a community than just a form of entertainment.
-The NCAA and FIFA are out of control and at some point government/someone needs to step in.
-Many people (not me) think professional sports leagues are socially or ethically obligated to do more to help out the communities they profit from.
Please comment and help us put a nice bowtie on the subject with your thoughts. What are your expectations of a professional sports league?