• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

At Sports University, We Support Our Troops

We have a national obsession in the United States with sports. Sports and sports talk are on 24/7. According to Marketwatch, Americans spent $100 billion on sports last year, half of it on attending games. You can watch sports every night and all day on weekends. You can tune in to sports talk shows on NESN and listen to sports talk radio. We spend on average about an hour a day consuming sports. You can also bet on sports. How much we bet is hard to track because a lot of it is illegal, but it is certainly in the billions. This obsession with sports applies to women as well as men, but it is males who are most obsessed and not surprisingly that means that men know a lot about sports. In fact, as sociologist Deborah Tanner found, men love to report information about sports to each other. This reporting may or may not be competitive and involve one-upmanship, but in any case, men have virtual libraries of information about sports that they’ve compiled. If there were SAT exams in sports, men would ace them.

Unfortunately, this sports knowledge often appears to take the place of knowledge of the world beyond sports. So American men might be more likely to be able to list the starting lineup of a local team than they are to be able to list the nine members of the Supreme Court or who their state representatives are. They can tell you how many men are on the roster of their favorite team, but they don’t know how many people live in the United States, never mind how many whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians and undocumented immigrants live in the country.

In addition, professional sports have embraced the military which is kind of an odd marriage that allows both sports teams and fans to express their patriotism. The whole notion of thanking the military developed as a backlash to the shameful treatment of our returning soldiers during the Vietnam War when we publicly criticized and blamed soldiers for the sins of our politicians. Since then, Americans have become more openly supportive of the military yet at the same time, we are not really engaged in our foreign policy and few of us know what the military is doing in Afghanistan or Iraq or Pakistan or Syria.

Trump exploited the patriotic nature of sports when he claimed black athletes were disrespecting the flag by kneeling in protest of police violence against African-Americans. Although kneeling is certainly not a sign of disrespect, failing to show one’s deference to the Star-Spangled Banner and to our military is simply not acceptable in America. We must all stand. We’d better take off our hats. We’d better cheer for our soldiers. Yet these actions are easy and let us off the hook from considering what is best for our country and our soldiers.

It’s no surprise that most of these sports fans are white men. No surprise that Robert Kraft and many NFL ownersare Trump supporters who contributed to his campaign. So, sports become a means of supporting what Trump refers to as nationalism. Sports enable men to develop a common identity and a tribalism based on the support of local teams which supplants a knowledge of and engagement with politics. It allows men to dismiss controversial issues and avoid difficult questions about subjects like climate change and poverty and racism. Hence the comments that football is not the right arena for protesting racism. The NFL weaseled out of the black lives matter protests by colluding with the television networks. They simply don’t show the Star- Spangled Banner before games.

Sports then serve as a means of distracting the populace from other issues as a well as reinforcing a version of feel good patriotism. It is a way of avoiding the difficult questions about racism and our involvement in proxy wars overseas. At the same time, sports reinforce our tribalism with fans identifying with teams. It’s fun to be a part of Red Sox Nation and it is an escape from the relentless corruption of our corporations and politicians. But sports and sports fans are not necessarily good for democracy.

Sports fans are as divided as the rest of the country politically but the support of the military by sports fans is troubling since it crosses party lines. Consequently, both parties support the military in Congress. There is no anti-war movement though we need one both for the sake of our country and our soldiers.

 

More articles by:
June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
Kathy Kelly
Beating Swords to Plowshares
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Urban Riots Revisited
Sam Pizzigati
“Failed State” Status Here We Come
Ron Jacobs
In Defense of Antifa
Cesar Chelala
Bolsonaro and Trump: Separated at Birth
George Wuerthner
The BLM’s License to Destroy Sagebrush Ecosystems
Danny Antonelli
The Absurdity of Hope
Binoy Kampmark
Sinister Flatulence: Trump Versus Twitter
John Stanton
How Much Violence and Destruction is Enough for Depraved American Leaders and Their Subjects?
Richard C. Gross
The Enemy Within
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s “Free Speech:” Doctrine: Never, Ever, Ever Mention He’s a Liar
John W. Whitehead
This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail