Social and Political Commentary

All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect opinions of others or the organization as a whole.

The sad state of professional sports

... we are being hoodwinked

by Russ Priestley

The recent walk off by the Boston Celtics coach, Rick Pitino, has brought to the forefront the sad state of all major professional sports, especially basketball, football and baseball. Pitino had laid down an ultimatum to his players, "Show me some defensive play or I'm out of here." After watching his players concentrating on personal achievement rather than team play, he kept his promise.

These overpaid players are more interested in the slam dunk than creating team play. They persisted in taking the three point shot... and missing 80% of those attempts. The game might be better off to eliminate that shot, but they are trying to make it more exciting to fans who are paying more and more to see inferior play.

When a kid is lured, from the playground, or from a commitment to a college agreement just to play basketball, then offered a wheelbarrow full of cash just to sign a contract, he is suddenly a millionaire. He may have talent but not the intelligence to deal with the sudden success.

I am getting sick of seeing pro football players parading around thumping their chests to invite applause, after doing what they are overpaid to do. And after scoring a touchdown, many of these heroes "spike" the ball with a lusty slam ... an "in your face" act of mockery to gain attention. Hey, you did not do that alone!

In baseball, the salaries are getting astronomical. A valued player sets off a bidding war to obtain his service. In a recent Red Sox signing of a batting star, someone figured that he will receive $32,000 every time he goes to bat. That alone exceeds the yearly income of most of the fans... who have already been notified of the rise in ticket prices. And the Red Sox are looking to the state (a.k.a. taxpayers) to build a bigger ball park. You would feel it in the wallet, even if not a baseball fan.

Maybe it is not a hoodwink. It's a swindle!

February 2, 2001


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