Wednesday, November 24, 2004

the sporting life

"They seen disrespect from, you know, from the crowd and then they seen a frustrated reaction from a player..."

This is how Ron Artest would explain what transpired during his "wilding" attack on basketball fans the other night to a child. In other words, he was justified in using violence to respond to a perceived lack of respect.

I'm probably going to upset some people with this, but it needs to be said more with every passing day. Until we start to realize that sports figures are no more noble than any other people in our society, people are going to be constantly struck with the baffled cognitive dissonance that this incident has left so many with, in a manner reminiscent of the ongoing pedophile priest stories. Today's sports have little evidence of "sportsmanship" yet athletes are elevated to pedestals of hero worship when they frequently display the most appalling lack of fair play and competition. When winning becomes as financially rewarding as it has in the last few decades, winning becomes the only thing that matters. Athletes cross the line in conduct on and off the field of their choice, will break rules as many times as they can get away with it to gain a competitive edge, will put toxic drugs and chemicals that can permanently alter their bodies in order to gain more muscle, speed or endurance, and even in the Olympics, display the most noxious "dancing in the end zone" celebrations or worse yet, disputations and legal actions for perceived judging injustices, at what is supposed to be the most noble and sportsmanlike competition in the world.

It's time to accept the facts and not elevate sports above other endeavors. People who can run fast and jump high are not heroes just by virtue of their physical abilities.


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