Sports

Kevin Cabral kcabral at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Tue Jun 25 13:59:03 MDT 1996


On Tue, 25 Jun 1996, Zeynep Tufekcioglu wrote:

> >Actually sports is politics Kevin. Unfortunately you just don,t see it. I,m
> >rooting for the Checks (the underdogs). But Look at the Olympics both today
> >in Geogia and in Berlin under Hitler..
>
> Sports *is* politics. I did a paper about "Sports" for a Sociology Students'
> Congress once. I thought I'm not going to another "Dependency Theory and
> Implications for Turkey", or "Gurvitch and Post-Modernism." The Congress was
> an independent student initiative, and was in another city. Was spring too.
> So, I thought, I'm not gonna do sharp politics. I'm not gonna spend three
> days arguing over statistics. Want my fun and sun.

> the "fascism, fado and football" recipe of Latin American dictators, to the
> examples such rivalry between Barcelona (my favorite European team!) and
> Madrid in the field - which clearly fluctuated along with the Franko fascist
> centralism and Barcelona anarchist/federalism, to the fact that in Turkey

	This is something that Americans, for a lack of a better term I
refer to US citizens specifically even though I know better, do not share
with Europeans. Are sports less political in the United States than in
England or Spain? I think so, because I do not know of a single prominent
figure in US sports who has a political agenda or a team that represents a
political ideology.

	There is political music in the United States, as a few bands like
Rage Against the Machine have used radio and media to expose their
message. But sports wise the only politics have come by accident, in
Michael Jordan's sudden awareness that his Nike shorts were being made by
teenagers and that much of the Nike shoe line or in Magic Johnson's
campaign for HIV/AIDS awareness. Both are prominent basketball players,
but if as far as class lines being drawn here like you cite in Spain
definitely not.

	There was a thread on political sports that I enjoyed earlier on
the Marxism List, the question was basically how to interest people in
populist politics as much as they would be interested in sports. I'd like
to hear any comments on that, or an extension of the analysis of the US
sporting scene.

	Basically I do not see politics off the field, or in team
rivalries. There are underdogs, or fan favorite hard-working players; but
most politics have come into play in the discussion and debate over ticket
prices, salaries, and stadia. Currently in the United States ticket prices for
all major sports except for baseball and soccer (though soccer is a division
below Euro Premier) are ridiculously high. And often an individual who
wants tickets has a tough time finding good ones, since business has
generally controlled the reasonable seats for decades.

	A large city 200 miles north of Columbus recently saw its
Cleveland Browns football (American football) club move to Baltimore with
a huge stadium awaiting. A half-dozen other cities have clubs demanding
new multi-purpose domed stadiums costing in excess of 200 million dollars
each for their football teams. In the National Hockey League half of the
teams in Canada have left, or are ready to leave for big-money deals in
major US cities. In baseball owners are blackmailing mayors across the
country to force new stadiums to be built. The situation then becomes very
political because the dictates of the market are clear, personal, and
painful as teams move, stadiums are renamed from their traditional names
to such as 3Com Ballpark, RCA Dome, Value City Arena, Fleet Centre, and
the United Centre, and even teams are named for marketing to the Mighty
Ducks. Or when a player who the fans felt they could trust demands a $10
million dollar a year contract. Anyone care to say more from the United
States or Europe?

Kevin
Columbus, Oh - Home of the Value City Arena





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