Jim McCormick" />
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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Love of the game traded for money, fame

It seems that there have been a rash of sports scandals lately. There are basketball referees betting on games they’re officiating, football players involved in underground dogfighting, and it seems that almost everybody in sports is taking steroids.

Perhaps it’s time for the entire professional sporting industry (and it’s nothing short of such) to do some soul-searching. Therefore, the best course of action would quite possibly be to suspend the entire industry for a minimum of three years.

Imagine it: three years without any pro- baseball, football, basketball, golf or anything of that nature. Auto racing can stay, as it’s not really a sport, and horse racing can stick around because outside of the Triple Crown races, only gambling addicts, breeders and jockeys care about it.

The United States should probably even withdraw from competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing on these grounds, which would prevent our athletes from being involved in an event that will benefit a country that has a human rights record that is still worse than ours.

The fact is that sportsmanship is a thing of the past. It’s no longer about playing for the love of the game or team loyalty. It’s about endorsements, merchandising, multimillion-dollar contracts and performing extra-human feats game after game. Sports fans should hardly be surprised about the rash of scandals lately: it’s their actions as consumers that have been fueling the cheating and entitlement complexes. Of course, the grossly exaggerated prices of game admission and concessions at the stadium where the games are played don’t help much, either.

Without professional sports, perhaps sports fans will even get off the couch and play a few games themselves. Of course, that may be too much to ask, as you can’t throw a football and eat junk food at the same time, and people in this country are notoriously lazy.

Those sports fans without athletic inclination can easily find other outlets for their need for obsession: there are plenty of amateur sporting contests going on without the pros. Perhaps college athletics might even become solvent, even for schools whose teams don’t take the paper-based football championship or the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. And maybe the same could be said of high school sports, which would no longer rely on taxpayer funding that should be going to classrooms.

Of course, this is just a pipe dream. Professional sports aren’t going anywhere, and nor are any of its problems. Instead, the future of professional athletics can be seen in the realm of professional wrestling, which has long been a mockery of athleticism. That’s what people want, and that’s what makes for big business. As long as that is the case, the scandals will continue to plague athletes in every sport.

McCormick, a computer science post-baccalaureate, can be reached via [email protected]

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