Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hypocrisy in Sports and in America

I never cease to be amazed at our society's hypocrisy around athletics and sports at all levels. Youth sports are said to foster sportsmanship and team play, yet we see parents bicker among themselves, and Dads press their children to uncover that aggressive side of the child. As we have seen at North Carolina, college Presidents turn a blind eye to abuses in their programs for fear alumni might not fill their coffers if the football program doesn't get to a bowl game or the basketball team doesn't make the NCAA tournament.

There is the issue of admission of college athletes of questionable academic ability who can win games. We pay coaches millions of dollars a year without any oversight. There's the fact that college athletics is a multi-billion dollar operation, as evidenced by the new BCS football national championship playoff, while players  are often unable to afford to a blazer for away trips or a meal beyond a fast food restaurant.

But the area of hypocrisy that galls me most is the simple conflict between what we say we treasure, what we say is important to us, versus where we spend our money, how and where we spend our time. We are all guilty.  The whole question revolves around our values, around what we say we value as a people and a society, versus what we do.

At the heart of nearly all issues in America is money. We are capitalists, flat and simple. What we say we value, good schools, strong churches, public safety, programs to uplift those who can't make it in our system........none are revenue generators. Therefore, in America, they suffer.  So it is with us capitalists.

But obviously, in spite of our hypocrisy, in spite of the conflict between what we say and what we do, in spite of our shortcomings, in spite of what amounts to our problem with public integrity, we've built a great nation............a nation with the highest standard of living, for the most people, in the history of the world.  But, no doubt, we can do better.  Each of us needs to do self-examination, to do our part more honestly and effectively.

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