The best thing I’ve read all day about the possibility of Michael Vick being suspended from pro football:
And here I really get riled, because what after all is professional football? Use your imagination a little, and it would be easy to imagine a society – perhaps more civilized than our own – that banned pro football or boxing and that put someone like Goodell or his K Street predecessor Paul Tagliabue, or the various Gucci-clad owners in jail for long stretches for trying to make a profit out of grown men being put on a field to engage in activities that are likely to result in physical harm or even death. If cock fighting is on the third tier, pro football and boxing are certainly on the fourth.
In a recent post on his blog at Think Progress Matthew Yglesias quotes Malcolm Gladwell and wonders why the professional sports industry is still run in such a closed manner.
Part of what makes this interesting is that it’s one of only a few examples that I know of where European countries have more fewer market regulations than the United States. From the time I spent in Scotland as a kid and from what I’ve read since then it seems as though most sports teams are able to have complete freedom in signing and moving players. This is what results in the massive transfer fees that have become more common.
Concerning this Yglesias writes that:
Right now, the New York City Designated media area contains 6.5 percent of households. LA has 5 percent. Chicago has 3 percent. Philadelphia has 2.6 percent. Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, and Atlanta all have about 2.1 percent. And things taper off from there. But considering that New York City has a media market three times the size of large cities like Dallas and Atlanta (and especially considering that it’s nearby to the Hartford media market with 0.9 percent of the population) why doesn’t New York have three baseball teams instead of two?…I think our sports would be a lot more interesting with more free movement of teams, more freedom to negotiate salary arrangements, more freedom to sign whichever young players you can persuade to join you, promotion and relegation of teams that can’t cut the mustard, etc.
Here’s why I don’t think American sports will move to a more free market system in which teams become largely unrestricted in terms of where they play and who they sign: we still like to think of our sports as games. Continue reading
Doug Glanville has a post on the New York Times that is the best summation of the problem with focusing all of the blame and attention upon Alex Rodriguez for his recent admission of steroid use during his time with the Texas Rangers. In the article Glanville, who played with A-Rod in 2003, writes that:
In the end, it isn’t about Alex Rodriguez, though we are making it about him. He must be in quite a dark place, because he could always rely on the authenticity of his talent to overcome any criticism of his civilian self. Now that is gone, and I am sure the public will exact a price from him for years to come. Sure, all this has come about because of certain choices he made, but he was outed by forces beyond his control, in a way that was not honorable. That is not good for any of those 1,200 players who were tested. That is not good for anyone. And why focus on Alex Rodriquez and not the other 103? Why weren’t there leaks about everyone?
We should step back and think about what we really want to gain from this situation. While I was playing professionally, it was disturbing to watch players cut corners through chemical means to get to that next contract. But I don’t see the good in selling our souls while claiming we want to chase the devil from our midst.
I hope we learn how to keep our word. If the tested players had known up front that the results were going to be made public (or that there was even a chance that they might be), not a single one would have agreed to cooperate, and it has very little to do with hiding anything. It has everything to do with privacy. Being A-Rod should not change that fact.
Amen. These players agree to anonymous testing so that Major League Baseball could see if it had a major drug problem. They complied with the testing, and when the results came out they agreed upon a harsher penalty for offenders. The players lived up to their end of that bargain and ultimately it is the sports reporters and Major League Baseball that didn’t live up to the agreement by publicizing (even through leaks) the results.
Andrew Sullivan apparently holds a similar opinion to the one that I voiced earlier concerning the ridiculousness that is the sports media’s concern over Michael Phelps smoking pot. Sullivan writes that:
Yes, Michael Phelps took a few hits from a bong at a party. He also threw back a great deal of alcohol, maybe made a few passes at a few girls and bonded with a few dudes. This is news?
And yet this absurd ritual takes place in which Phelps has to pretend he did something dreadful and we all have to tut-tut and frown and furrow our brows, and the sponsors cluck and the press preens – while the only conceivable news is that a 23 year-old had a good time at a party, breaking no professional rules since he was not competing when he was goofing off.
And, seriously, does anyone think that smoking pot would give him an unfair advantage in the pool? Please. When on earth are we going to grow up as a culture?
Agreed, now let’s all just let this story fade away and hope that the next time an athlete engages in activity that thousands of other Americans do every day the media (and bloggers) don’t even notice or hear about it.
I’m always a little disgusted by the double-standard to which American athletes are held. We as a society expect far more out of them than we would ever expect out of fellow citizens and yet the reality is that we glorify people like Michael Phelps because of their physical accomplishments not their societal ones. It all just seems like a way for the American people to be caring about something that they see as important when in reality a swimmer smoking pot is about the least important issue that we ought to be devoting our attention to right now. From an ESPN article:
Olympic great Michael Phelps acknowledged “regrettable” behavior and “bad judgment” after a photo in a British newspaper Sunday showed him inhaling from a marijuana pipe.
In a statement released Sunday, the swimmer who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games did not dispute the authenticity of the exclusive picture published Satruday by the tabloid News of the World.
“I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” Phelps said. “I’m 23 years old and despite the successes I’ve had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again.”
Link via Phelps acknowledges photo showing Olympic swimming star smoking from marijuana pipe – ESPN.
The Plank has an interesting article that includes a quote that is extremely critical of the way in which the national sports media has glorified Tim Tebow’s religious values. Frankly, I found the way in which the sports anchors during the title game described Tebow to be so blatantly biased that it was disgusting. I agree with the article when it claims that the same outpouring of approval would not be there were Tebow Muslim or Mormon. Just my opinion though, read the article at the link below.
What if Tim Tebow Were Muslim? – The Plank .
Not good news for the Lakers yesterday; Jordan Farmar will be out until possibly the middle of February with knee surgery. Good news though is that Phil Jackson says the Lakers will be looking into getting another point guard with speed to back up Derek Fisher.
This is just not a good injury for the team to get at a time when they’re already showing signs of maybe not being the team that started out the season on a tear. Here’s hoping they pull it together even without Farmar and maintain their position and record.
Link (via ESPN).