Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clarification on Sports & Christians (continued)

To clarify where I'm coming from:
Many of the great civilizations in the world saw a huge rise in the prominence of their athletes and entertainers just before those societies collapsed.

Things have gotten pretty imbalanced. The culture that Louisville supported for Rick Pitino's misdeeds, for example. The huge salaries for the Caliparis of the world who add questionable value to the good of society (no matter how you measure it--GDP, innovation, productivity, education, etc.) while the budget is cut in other areas of the university Calipari works for.

The market value (demand) for an additional great basketball player or coach is higher than that for an additional teacher, police officer, or physicist-- even though you can easily argue that the others bring more benefit to society. It's this market that I have issues with--and it represents our collective preferences. So, I am concerned about my own preferences contributing to the imbalance.

What separates MLB from other sports entirely is that the entire system is corrupt. The commissioner turning a blind eye to the steroids, the players all lying about it to the media, players even lying to congress, and when the truth finally, slowly trickles out that almost every player was doping no one cares. There are no recriminations against David Ortiz and other Red Sox who we know were illegally doping during their first World Series run. The commissioner is making a lot of money to perpetuate the status quo to keep revenues high.

When a Pitino or someone else is caught doing something immoral, no one cares anymore. "It's not as bad as what _______ did, and he didn't get punished, so why should Pitino?" The NCAA as a whole isn't as bad as MLB-- there are no systemic lies being perpetuated. But, the imbalances are getting worse in college athletics. I'm not sure I want my dollars to support the imbalance any more. And I think much of my feeling comes from spiritual conviction.

I think, like personal finances, we need to have a greater discussion as believers in what we do with our resources.

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