Should We Ban Sports?

#bansports sounds like a bad idea

On one level, I understand the desire to eliminate behaviors *commonly* found in the sports world. There is an excess of money made off the backs of individuals who get an unfair portion of the pie. There is also concern regarding the entitlement and behavior of many professional athletes, particularly when these behaviors center around drug usage and a failure to act within societal norms.

There IS an issue with the behavior of some athletes. We have seen Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, and Greg Hardy run into self inflicted domestic violence issues this past year. We now add those names with countless others, Ben Roethlisberger, Rae Carruth, and Ray Lewis come to mind. The San Diego Union-Tribune has a list of 789 incidents since 2000, including drunken driving, disorderly conduct, and domestic issues. Some of the offending individuals are superstars, others journeymen, and many others never played out their first contract.

Are legal issues from the troubled few enough reason to eliminate sports?

Drug suspensions in Major League Baseball, ranging from 50 games to an entire season, are becoming more commonplace. The NFL often removes a player for four weeks for drug offenses. Even the ranks of professional cycling have their histories with alcohol, doping (see Lance Armstrong). The desire to be the best is definitely a common drive, and often pushes a competitor to live in the gray between the rules...until they get caught.

Should the desire to improve one’s performance through the use of drugs be reason enough to eliminate sports?

We are certainly paying a pretty penny for our athletics. A pair of upper level tickets to an NBA game can run well over $150, depending on the match-up and the arena in which the game is played. When you factor in the cost of parking, arena concessions, and the possible memorabilia purchase, the cost of that one event can quickly exceed $300. In the NBA, however, the players get a large chunk of that profit. This is not the case for college athletes. The NCAA is going to make BILLIONS over the course of their three week basketball tournament. Those participating in the event, playing the games, and creating the drama get exactly $0.

Is this wealth of income, inequity in the way it is divided enough to eliminate sports?

For myself, the answer is no.

I am a consumer of sports. I spent many moments avoiding my homework and pouring over the box scores in the newspaper, studying the stats on the back of baseball and football cards…activities of a miss-spent youth. These musings, though, lead me to an appreciation of mathematics, of statistics, and years later, I work as a professor of mathematics.

I also learned about competition. I learned to win and lose gracefully (though I don’t always follow along with said lessons). I learned how to work in a group, with a team. Strategy and logical thought was a subtle lessons within sports participation, from which I have secured the ability to plan a course of action, and adjust when things are not going as planned.

Sports played a large role in molding the person that I am today.

I do wish attending live events were more affordable, that athletes always carried themselves in a clean and respectable manner, and that collegiate sports was not the “money grab” that it has become.

There are awful aspects of sports, awful side-effects to its mainstream popularity, and much stems from money. For me, there has yet to be a “last straw,” and thus I continue to watch (though I attend fewer and fewer events in person…sadly…as my pocketbook just cannot keep up).