Separation of Sport & State

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Jeff Kagan: ACES Sports

 

What should the roll of our Government be in sports, both professional and amateur?  Should our politicians even have time to legislate Balls, Strike or First Downs?   Some would suggest that professional sports are given special considerations, are exempt from anti-trust laws, and they are given huge breaks in regard to taxes.  Therefore, they would argue, that because of these considerations the government has a right to “meddle” in the business of sports.   I am referring to the steroid scandal where professional athletes were asked to testify in Washington, under oath, or the current situation with the Washington Redskins name being considered offensive.  Or how about who should be named the national champion in a given sport or the city that the game is played in (yes, lot’s of money on the line).  Should our government play a part in this?  Don’t they have better things to focus on for the business of running our government?  Shouldn’t the market decide?  Economics should determine what is acceptable for business. If the customers are upset, they will show their displeasure with how they spend their money.  They will apply fiscal pressure in an attempt to force change.

 

Regarding the steroids scandal from a few years ago that led to the suspension of some major league baseball players, and disgraced and tarnished the reputation of others,steroids have been in sports since the 1970’s.  No, they are not good for humans if abused, but most steroids were manufactured for a medical use.   If a Professional Athlete wants to risk their body for the pleasure of his fans (oh yea, and for millions of dollars), then I say thank you.  If a given sport wants to outlaw steroids (or any drugs or medications), then that is their decision.  Yes, taking medication that is un-prescribed is illegal, but we have people who’s job it is to enforce that issue.  Let the DEA and local law enforcement do their job, they are very good at it.  How is this on the agenda of our Congress?  Did we really need congressional hearings on this?  I’m sure it was good for CSPAN’s ratings, but we have bigger issues in Washington than Steroids.

 

Regarding the name Redskins being considered offensive to Native Americans, you need to look at the history of the franchise.  The name was changed to Redskins in 1933 to honor its coach, Lone Star Dietz, who was Native American.  There are over 60 High Schools in America that use the name “Redskins” for their mascot, and an additional 435 High Schools use the name Indians (Not including Chief’s, Braves, or Warriors).  Some of those schools are predominantly Native American schools, and I would bet they have no intention of changing their mascot.  Does the President really need to get involved?

 

Is the name Redskins really offensive?  Is it being used in a negative or derogatory manner?  The answer is obviously no.  The sooner we stop letting words offend us, the better off we will be.  Not just the name Redskins, but I’m talking about all words that are viewed in a negative light.  Even words that some people can say and others can’t because they are of a different race, religion or sexual preference.  Words don’t have power unless we give it to them.  We need to evolve past that.  Words are just words, let’s take the power away from them already!

 

How do you feel about this subject?  Do you think it should be the responsibility of our elected officials to govern the sports we love, or should sports people deal with sports issues?  Should the economics dictate what is acceptable and what is not?   The public will either support those decisions financially, or show franchise owners they need to make adjustments in their policies.  I’m sure this will stimulate some people to add a comment.  I look forward to feedback on this.  This is certainly worthy of continued discussion.

 

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