Thursday, February 3, 2011

Random Sports Thoughts

Yesterday was national signing day for high school football players to choose the school they would like to attend. ESPN dedicated 10 hours of live coverage to this event. Can someone please tell me why this is necessary? We’re treating high school football players signing scholarship papers like it was the NFL draft. Is it any wonder that so many elite athletes think they are above normal rules? And why are we putting so much pressure on 17 and 18 year old young men? This also totally distorts player/booster interactions leading to some of the many problems we have seen in the last year.

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, and I’m a little puzzled by one thing. When it looked like there was a real chance that Michael Vick would be in the Super Bowl people were talking about how he would be received and what the NFL would do about dealing with someone convicted of animal abuse playing in the biggest game. Would there be protesters? Would advertiser refuse to place ad? Or worse, would animal rights groups try and place ads?

The NFL never had to face that, instead they have a quarterback who has twice been accused of rape. No charges have ever been filed, although there is a civil case currently making its way through the courts. Why are people not up in arms about this? Is violence against animals somehow worse than violence against women? Why is Big Ben not being held accountable for this despicable behavior? Where is NOW on this issue? It seems to me this should be a much bigger issue than it is, and I wonder why.

A think part of it might have to do with a recent poll which found the 10 most disliked people in sports. The list is:
1) Al Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders
2) Michael Vick
3) Jerry Jones, Owner of the Dallas Cowboys
4) Tiger Woods
5) Manny Ramirez
6) Terrell Owens
7) Albert Haynesworth
8) Mark McGwire
9) Bob Knight
10) Randy Moss
I can’t help but notice that the majority of these people are black. No whites who are current players make up the list. Why is that?

We have two whites in the top five. But they also happen to be NFL owners who are known for running teams with “thugs” as players, who also happen to be black. Coincidence, I don’t think so. Of the other whites, Mark McGwire, has become the poster boy of sorts for steroids in baseball, and Bob Knight known for his terrible temper. Big Ben’s dislike rate dropped from 57 to 39 percent over the course of the year, and so he is not in the top ten.

Can someone please tell me how what Tiger Woods did is worse then what Roethlisberger did? I’m not going to defend Woods’ behavior, but I do not put adultery on the same level as potential sexual assault. I think there are several things which separate Woods out. The first is that people expected more of him for some reason, and felt betrayed when everything came out. But I also believe that a lot of the animosity has to do with the fact that he was a black man, married to a white woman having affairs with other white women.

As white’s its really easy to believe that race doesn’t matter because it’s not something we really have to think about. Our color is to our advantage. People of color do not have that same advantage, and we as a society have lots of assumptions, conscious and unconscious, that impact how they are viewed. Among these are two of the major taboos of black men with white women and blacks getting too “uppity.” I believe that these two beliefs play very much into this list.

Only 11 more days until pitchers and catchers report, and 21 until the first game. Yeah!

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