Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

Cultural Differences

I don’t hate sports. Yes, I know many of my readers think I do, because I’ve railed against the high cost of college athletics, the public financing of sports arenas and so on. But I really like some sports. In fact, I spent Sunday afternoon watching the movie “Eddie” where Whoppie Goldberg – a rabid Knicks fan – gets the job as their head coach. Okay; not the same as watching a game, but the point is, I really enjoyed the basketball scenes and it made me remember all the bball games I’ve attended  – and loved. Hey, I was a cheerleader for about 100 years. So, what’s my problem with sports? I don’t have one. My problem is with the culture of sports. And that is a whole ‘nother story.

This is a culture that encourages xenophobia (“I hate Philadelphia!”), glorifies the worst of the worst (“So, Warren Moon beat up his wife 20 or so times.  He’s still an NBA superstar!”), and not only applauds but demands unadulterated violence (“Hit him again! Hit him with your hockey stick!”).

If you’re a woman over 40, you probably have a friend or two who dreads the Super Bowl because of the heavy drinking combined with violence they have to face when their mate’s team loses. You might also know a couple of women who literally never see their husbands because all of their spare time is spent in front of the television (at home or in a bar) or playing fantasy football. Although, to be honest, some women may actually luxuriate in that. . .

It used to be that when you went to a Little League game, the parent who screamed and yelled at the kids on the other team was the pariah. Now, he’s the norm. Kids can’t just play for fun; they have to kill the competition. After all, who doesn’t want their son to get a mufti-million dollar contract?

Watching that movie, I remembered the pure joy of seeing talented athletes perform amazing feats on the basketball court. Amazing, yes, but not heroic. For crissakes, they’re playing a game, not trying to end famine in the world.

So, when you read my rants against sports, remember that it isn’t sports that I’m railing against, it’s the money, the violence (much of it against women, by the way) and the bastardization of the true role of sports: to teach team work and responsibility and ethical competition.

Now, wouldn’t that be nice?

Tags: , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 10:32 AM and is filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Rosemary Conte says:

    So well said, Lucille…and needs to be heard.

  2. Let me clarify something: when I talk about violence against women in respect to sports, this (excerpted from Richard Lapchink’s column on is what I’m talking about:

    . . . athletes charged in cases of domestic violence often are allowed to keep playing or continue on campus as student-athletes and as students.
    Remember, neither Sandusky nor Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine has been found guilty of any crimes to date, but the public outrage over the allegations has been significant, and rightly so.

    So, leaving the guilt or innocence of the athletes in these cases out of it for a moment, here are some quick examples of cases involving athletes in the past five years that haven’t resulted in a similar reaction.

    • NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty to having sex with a teenage girl in May 2010. His sentence was six years on probation.

    • A woman in Lake Tahoe, Nev., accused Pittsburgh Steelers star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of rape in 2009, and another woman in Milledgeville, Ga., accused him of sexual assault in 2010. He was not prosecuted in either case, although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for six games (and later reduced the suspension to four games). Although the media paid attention to the cases, most of the focus was on Roethlisberger’s immature and frat-boy-like behavior.

    • Santonio Holmes was arrested after reportedly choking the mother of one of his children in 2006. With her assent, a judge in Columbus, Ohio, eventually dismissed the misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and assault. Holmes eventually was suspended by the NFL … for drugs.

    • Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf hit a female student in November 2008 and initially was suspended for the rest of the 2008-09 academic year. That was reduced to 40 hours of community service, though, enabling him to play the entire Big East season.

    • In the fall of 2010, Tony Woods, a center on Wake Forest’s basketball team, was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend, reportedly fracturing her spine. He received a 60-day suspended prison sentence.

    • Baylor basketball player LaceDarius Dunn reportedly broke the jaw of his girlfriend in the fall of 2010. She asked that the charges be dropped, and a grand jury declined to indict him.

    • Florida wide receiver Chris Rainey was charged with stalking after sending threatening text messages to his girlfriend in 2010. He reached a plea agreement with authorities and stayed out of court. Then-coach Urban Meyer suspended him … for five games.

    Have I made my point?

  3. Leigh says:

    OK… but these are all high profile events… maybe you feel the consequences were too minimal… and rightfully so but there are probably thousands of similar accusations that don’t get the publicity… doesn’t make it right but the focus on athletes as a group, or mind set is too targeted in my opinion.

    Leigh Kirby

  4. Judy Herring says:

    I think one of the major problems with professional sports is the outrageous saleries the players make, and that is the responsibilty of the team owners!! You get young, and yes, athletically talented individuals, right out of school, some high school, but mostly college, making incredible amounts of money is insane!!! They usually lack the maturity it takes to handle all that money and I think it makes them think they are above everyone else. Team owners make lots and lots of money on “good” players and therefore, think their “investment” in them is worth it. Afterall, these guys have a relatively short life span in sports. When is the last time you heard of a 20 year contract for a pro player??
    Another thought… fans can be obsesseed to the point they get crazy, too. The yelling and screaming when their team does well and/or stinks!!
    Sports should be about “playing the game” and instilling sportsmanship in its players – you know the whole teamwork thing.

  5. Chris Munson says:

    This would have been a commentary of some interest were it not for the fact that the incidence of violence to women involving male professional athletes is one third that of violence to women in the general population. The common perception is probably the opposite because sports figures are celebrities who attract a disproportionate amount of coverage in our dysfunctional media. Don’t take my word for it. Checkout this article:

Leave a Reply

Feed Shark