Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote a piece on Sunday about what she terms the “moral dystopia” revealed by the passivity of Penn St. faculty who did little or nothing to stop Jerry Sandusky from raping boys.
Mike McQueary, who has been a coach on the Penn St. football team for many years, was a key witness for the prosecution in the trial that may end as soon as Friday. He testified to the court that in Feb. 2001, he walked into the Penn St. locker room, and witnessed what was likely Sandusky raping a boy in the shower. Instead of overpowering Sandusky and stopping the rape, he left the locker room and told not the police – but his father. It took more than 10 years for Sandusky to be arrested for his allegedly many instances of rape.
There were many people over the course of Sandusky’s nightmare-like manipulation of children who could have stopped it. Dowd’s explanation for their lack of temerity is, in my opinion…out there:
Inundated by instantaneous information and gossip, do we simply know more about the seamy side? Do greater opportunities and higher stakes cause more instances of unethical behavior? Have our materialism, narcissism and cynicism about the institutions knitting society — schools, sports, religion, politics, banking — dulled our sense of right and wrong?
Materialism, narcissism, and cynicism? Institutions knitting society?
I don’t understand what Dowd is talking about.
The moral failings of McQueary and everyone else who willfully blinded themselves to what Sandusky was doing was primarily the result of a missing character trait. This incredibly useful trait is in fact perhaps the hardest one to find in humanity. It’s…
The NFL players union sued the league today, alleging that in 2010 owners secretly colluded to have a salary cap of $123 million. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the union was to have no salary cap in 2010, meaning that owners could spend as much money as they want on player salaries, enabling players to get more money.
This news item prompted a reaction from a friend of mine. We’ll call this friend “Gary”. Gary was appalled that the union is complaining about a salary cap of $123 million, opining that football players make more than enough money. Gary thinks that NFL players, and professional athletes in general, make “too much.” I pressed him to clarify the line between “reasonable” and “too much”.
“Somewhere lower than 123 million”, Gary texted back.
“Why lower?” I asked.
“Because that’s absurd,” responded Gary.
“Why is 123 million absurd?”
“Too much money.”
This exchange has led me to the following conclusion: people who believe that a $123 million payroll is absurd have the burden of proof. America 2012 tolerates the mega-wealth of athletes, actors, and musicians. If someone wants to challenge this tolerance, make a persuasive argument. But because they desire a change from the status quo, they have the obligation to convince others why there should be a change.
My defense of mega-wealth for the famous is that all of their money is derived from people who freely choose to give them money. Pittsburgh Steeler safety Troy Polamalu will make $6.25 million this year only because people choose to like and follow him.
But this is only a defense to the aforementioned attack. Another, more rational argument put forth by Gary was that there is so much poverty and hunger in the world, so it is “not right” for athletes to make this much money when other people are suffering.
My response to this argument is that the NFL, and luxuries such as music and movies in general, are not in any way a cause of poverty. People who spend money on NFL games would spend it on a different luxury if there were no NFL. America has such a wide network of professional sports because it’s so wealthy. Haiti, on the other hand, one of the poorest nations on the planet, cannot afford to consume any significant portion of its wealth on sports.
One can make the case that players and owners should give more of their wealth to causes that will enable America’s and the world’s poor to support themselves and lead wealthier lives. But that’s a different argument. In that sense, it’s morally tolerable, if not morally preferable for NFL players make to make bank, as long as they use some of it for charitable causes.
The emotional argument against athletes making “too much” money is really an argument against fans caring so much about sports. Without the latter, there couldn’t be the former.