Monday, July 23, 2007

Poor Sports

Ordinarily, I'd think being the commissioner of a professional sports league would be a pretty cool thing. You get to go to all the games, hang out with stars and make tons of money.

But, not last week, which might go down as the darkest moment in professional sports history, if you were to combine all the scandals from all the leagues that hit the papers.

Professional baseball: Bud Selig was forced to sit through a three game set in Milwaukee where Barry Bonds, the human steroid laboratory, could have broken Henry Aaron's all-time home run record in the city where Aaron was a long-time star and against the team that Selig once owned. But, Bud got off lucky, Bonds fell short.

Professional football: Roger Goodell, newly-appointed commissioner, now has to deal with the scandal of Michael Vick, once seen as one of the game's bright young stars - a black quarterback who could have been a role model for millions of kids. Ooops, turns out in his spare time, Vick was part of a dog-fighting ring that featured not only the inhumane "sport" of forcing dogs to fight against one another to the death but also an even more cruel side problem of people involved in the ring torturing and killing the dogs. PETA has been protesting, Vick has been indicted and Goodell has been forced to basically suspend him.

Professional golf: On the eve of the British Open, perhaps the most prestigious tournament in the world, Gary Player, one of the game's most respected elder statesmen, announces he knows that at least one player has taken steroids. WADA - the World Anti-Doping Agency headed by Canadian blowhard Dick Pound who would charge my 11-year-old is on steroids if he watched him play XBox - promptly wades into the fray. Think this is going to just go away? I doubt it.

Professional hockey: Gary Bettman, the rat who basketball sicked on hockey, is under fire because he apparently quashed a sale of the Nashville Predators to Canadian Ron Bellisle who wanted to move the team to Canada. God forbid the NHL allow teams to actually play in cities where they're wanted instead of the Deep South where they rate slightly lower than, well, dog fighting. But, this could be the end of Bettman. If he actually colluded to deny Bellisle the right to buy the team, he's in shit so deep even his ratness might drown in the sewers.

Amateur soccer but with professional players: At the World Under 20 tournament in Canada, the Chilean team gets in a fight with a bunch of Toronto cops wearing bicycle shorts. Chile promptly goes nuts, filing an offical complaint with the Canadian government. Okay, let's look at this logically: Canada has never had a soccer riot in its history because Canadians don't give a shit about soccer; the Chileans had just lost a semi-final match against South American rival Argentina that had turned vicious with 9 yellow cards handed out and something like 60+ fouls called. Who do you think was to blame? Sepp Blatter, the head of FIFA, soccer's world body, was forced to do some serious back-pedalling, especially since Canada had just set the record for the most tickets sold at the World Under 20 and had acted as a perfect host nation.

Professional cycling: the leader at the time of the Tour de France is forced to acknowledge he'd skipped as many as four urine tests due to an "administrative error" and been kicked off his national team. Where's Dick Pound when you need him?

And, the topper? NBA basketball, where David Stern is under serious heat after it was revealed a referee had been betting on games including ones he was reffing. Uh-oh...the whole league, long a disaster for its shoddy rule calling and on- and off- court antics, just took a black eye like it had been beaten by Mike Tyson. Frankly, even basketball fans probably can't take it seriously anymore.

I'm a big sports fan but the fact is there is now too much money, too many egos, too much TV involvement and a severe lack of respect for the games and the fans these days. Professional sports is heading for a fall and last week may have accelerated the descent.

1 comment:

Michael said...

the fact is there is now too much money, too many egos, too much TV involvement and a severe lack of respect for the games and the fans these days

I think you've pretty well summed it up. The worst of it are the "contract disputes," though: when overpaid players and money -soaked team owners argue over profits most of us just dream about.