Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bread and Circus

Hey sports fans. Some wonder why I am so indifferent to pro sports these days. Classmates will recall that I was a typical American school kid; I loved pro sports. Once I went to college, my interests.. uh... diversified. More recently I had a rekindled interest in college football, though that too is waning. I realize more than ever that money and power dominate and corrupt what is supposed to be an amateur enterprise. Not on my dime; not if I can help it.

We have become more like Rome than we realize. It is bad enough that modern sports are a diversion that help keep our public discourse so inane and uninformed.

It's actually much worse. Here is an interview of sports writer Dave Zirin. The essential problem, as he points out, is that wealthy owners get the public to pay for their arenas and stadiums. Massive tax breaks are usually involved. The owners are enjoying outsized profits precisely because they get taxpayers to underwrite their business. To cap it off, the owners use their profits to fund right-wing, anti-government agendas. They want you to think they are self-made captains of capitalism. They don't say much about the millions of tax dollars they pocket.

Hypocrisy anyone?  Dave Zirin's most recent book, Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love, tells the whole story.

I still want the Pac-12 to do well. Anyone but the SEC.

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