Looks like someone was not showing the appropriate level of servility and genuflection during the NFL Draft event when veterans were being “honored” on stage before the start of festivities, as yells of “Stand up for your country!” and “Stand up asshole!” could be clearly heard coming from the audience.
People seem to think of their government rulers as their “team,” which is why there tends to be so much state worship during sporting events.
Reminds me of that baseball game I went to a couple of summers ago. As I noted then:
Dear statists: not following state customs is not an affront to society or an insult to you or any other individual, even a “hero” who may have “paid the greatest sacrifice for my freedoms.”The state and its symbols are not synonymous with society. Nor are they representative of you or any other individual in particular. When your identity is intermixed with your government and your patriotism becomes sacerdotal reverence, you become a mindless minion of the state to be manipulated into agreeing to whatever loss of liberty best suits your
Be a good neighbor to your fellow man, not a doting subject to the state.
In dismissing a motion by the NCAA to prevent football and men’s basketball players from legally pursuing a cut of live broadcast revenues, a federal court judge Tuesday raised the stakes for the governing body of college sports as it defends its economic model.
Judge Claudia Wilken issued her ruling Tuesday, rejecting the NCAA’s motion that players in the antitrust suit led by former UCLA star Ed O’Bannon should be precluded from advancing their lawsuit on procedural grounds.
The NCAA had objected to the players amending their lawsuit last year to claim a share of all television game revenues, not just those from rebroadcasts.
“Now the (NCAA and its co-defendants) are facing potential liability that’s based on the billions of dollars in revenue instead of tens or hundreds of millions,” said Michael Hausfeld, interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs. “It’s a more accurate context for what the players deserve.”
Mr. President, the violence of war is many orders of magnitude greater than with football, a mere game. Would you also stop your son, if you had one, from joining the military? How about your daughters? You recently announced that women are now to engage in frontline combat. Would you intervene if one of your own daughters volunteered to participate in this kind of up-close mass murder of foreigners?
— Tom DiLorenzo’s follow-up questions he would ask Obama after the president stated that if he had a son he’d have to “think long and hard” about allowing him to play football because of all of the violence in the game, especially at the college and professional levels.
When an entrenched industry faces a serious threat to its market share, the typical response, at least in the United States, is to seek government protection, typically in the form of subsidies or regulation. The latter is employed for two reasons: To discourage new entrants from the market and to tie the incumbent firms’ continued success to a government bureaucracy. This is usually referred to as “regulatory capture.”
With the NFL and other leagues facing increased litigation over their liability for brain injuries (concussions) suffered by athletes, it stands to reason at some point, the powers-that-be will seek protection from the government in the form of regulation. Rather than face a patchwork of new state laws, the NFL would likely seek congressional approval for a national regulatory scheme.
The basis for such a scheme would be government “licensing” of athletes. Many states already do this with boxers and mixed martial artists. It’s not much of a stretch to argue the government should regulate full-contact football players in a similar fashion. A hypothetical Federal Football Commission could require all players, starting in high school, to submit to annual government physicals. The FFC would obviously have to establish “minimum” standards for playing football, as well equipment and other rule-making powers now exercised by individual leagues.
In exchange for surrendering some of its power, the NFL, NCAA and other leagues would gain legal immunity from player lawsuits. Such is the nature of regulatory schemes; they displace common law principles of tort liability in favor of more industry-friendly government standards. The leagues, of course, would still wield enormous influence over rule-making via well-paid lobbyists. Meanwhile, players would lose even the meager collective bargaining rights they now exercise through government-approved labor unions.
If and when government licensing becomes a reality, it will not be a shock. The state and football are already connected at the molecular level, from state universities that sponsor major college programs to government stadium subsidies. Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s recent announcement for $30 million in funding to study athlete health problems–via a donation to the government-controlled National Institutes of Health–touted the potential benefits to the military.
The only losers here, naturally, will be players and consumers. Government-regulated football won’t be any safer than today’s game, and tomorrow’s players will have even less of a voice in the process than they do now. Licensing also makes any product or service more expensive. Just imagine a future “football tax” added to your ticket or cable bill to help subsidize the new Federal Football Commission. After all, it’s not like the NFL will pay for it themselves; they don’t even pay for their own stadiums.
The problem exposed by the referee lockout is that the rules themselves have become nearly impossible to enforce. The substitute officials are inexperienced, yes, but the problem lies not with them but the bureaucracy that spawned them. The NFL’s rulebook is barely comprehensible to the permanent officials, much less the substitutes.
The lockout is commonly ascribed to the “greed” of the league’s franchise operators. But greed doesn’t explain this. All sides in a negotiation try to maximize their economic gains. And as has been widely reported, the actual amount of money in dispute here is insignificant by NFL standards. It’s certainly not worth the current public relations nightmare.
Unless, of course, you’re actually defending a larger principle. The NFL isn’t standing firm because of money, but rather bureaucracy. The league fundamentally views “integrity” differently than fans and media. It’s been especially clear since the ascent of Roger Goodell to the commissioner’s chair that the NFL defines integrity as the “unquestioned obedience to all league mandates, even those mandates that contradict one another.” Going back to last year’s player lockout, Goodell has been fighting for the principle of bureaucratic supremacy over all aspects of the NFL’s business.
The merits of a particular dispute–the lockouts, the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal, etc.–are irrelevant. What matters is the bureaucracy’s position must be vindicated no matter the cost. This is how government regulators think, and it’s how Roger Goodell’s NFL thinks.
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton just signed the midnight deal that state lawmakers struck with the owners of the Minnesota Vikings to build the team a new stadium. Players and management shook hands. Fans breathed a sigh of relief that their beloved football team would remain in the Gopher State. But some important parties were missing from the celebration: the taxpayers who are stuck with the check.
Both of us are sports fans — one a born-and-bred Vikings supporter, the other a Washington Capitals season-ticket holder who wrote his master’s thesis on the Olympics — but we recognize that most fans are hurt by such deals. That’s because they lead to increased taxes and higher prices, squeezing the average fan for the benefit of owners and sponsors. And that’s not even counting the overwhelming majority of taxpayers, regardless of fandom, who never set foot in these gladiatorial arenas.
Let’s look at this particular deal. The stadium costs $975 million on paper, with over half coming from public funds, $348 million from the state and $150 million from Minneapolis — not through parking taxes or other stadium-related user fees, but with a new city sales tax. In return, the public gets an annual $13 million fee and the right to rent out the stadium on non-game-days….
The reality of the Vikings deal is that the owners will gain the most, not taxpayers or fans. Taxpayers will bear most of the risk, while the expected increase in the franchise’s value will accrue wholly to the owners — who will also be free from facility-financing costs. The owners will also have new revenue opportunities in the form of higher ticket prices, club seats, stadium-naming rights, and advertising. With all these luxury goodies, the only fans who will be able to actually attend the games are those with luxury incomes, many of whom will surely be writing the cost off their taxes as a business expense.
So playing college sports is not a unique “student-athlete experience.” It’s a job like any other job. Just like in any other corporate job, you go to work every day for a stress-sick executive who needs you to bust ass 24 hours a day to save his neck and stave off his aneurysm.
Unlike any other job, though, you don’t get paid, because the company you work for, the NCAA, has cleverly designed a series of pompous rules making it “illegal” for you to be compensated. In order to preserve this bottomless well of unpaid labor (poor kids, both black and white, coming from the ghettoes and from busted country towns in West Texas or the Ozarks, etc.), the league has created and carefully nurtured the myth of “amateur status,” essentially arguing that the 200-300 players they deliver to the NFL draft every spring must be economic virgins at the moment they sign their first NFL contracts, or else all moral hell will break loose.
The reality, of course, is that preserving the virginity of those 300 lucky future NFLers a year is all about not having to pay the tens of thousands of kids who play college football every year and don’t make it to the pros, while earning millions for their schools.
Objectively speaking, there’s no logical reason why it should be wrong to pay a star football player who’s helping the University of Miami secure a multimillion-dollar TV deal. But the NCAA says it’s wrong, and its officials even wrote a complex series of rules to back themselves up – and, unbelievably, the entire sportswriting community buys the myth.
On his radio show on Aug 18, Colin Cowherd - like every other sports broadcaster in the country - was discussing the scandal at the University of Miami in which a renegade booster allegedly showered players and recruits with gifts and cash.
Just before the clip above, Cowherd makes the argument that while other scholarship students are free to pursue financial opportunities without restrictions, the college athletes have more benefits and therefore shouldn’t need that ability to earn more. Then he argues that if the university were to pay students, they would have to/should pay all athletes - even in lower-demand sports - and these payments wouldn’t curb the money being given to players “on the side.”
These arguments are both nonsensical and miss the point: athletes should be allowed to receive gifts and money commensurate to another’s willingness to give it to them. By comparing the “benefits” and “connections” between a music major and a college athlete, he completely misses the matter of which of those talents are in higher demand. He also completely ignores that the NCAA, and the schools, and many others make tons of money from these college athletes. So by setting his standards on who might be the ones paying and what would be most fair, he’s merely rearranging deck chairs. As he acknowledges, the “problem” would remain.
But none of this is what really blew my mind, in the clip above he says:
“The only way to end any of this stuff: make it a felony to pay a college athlete. If you pay a dollar, it’s a crime. Car dealers won’t hand any money to college football quarterbacks after that. … All the politicians in this country sitting on their hands… can one of you create legislation, enact it, that if you pay a college athlete, it is a felony. It’ll all end tomorrow.”
So first, Cowherd believes that the best solution to curb the truly victimless (and generally non-criminal) rule-breaking is by employing the state’s monopoly on force to inflict violence on those who wish to engage in consensual exchange. He wants to imprison, or worse, anyone who would give a likely poor student from a poor family a gift or payment simply because said student plays a non-professional sport in college.
And second, he believes doing this would work. Is he unfamiliar with the war on drugs - or any other series of laws that criminalize peaceful behavior? Such laws do not eradicate or curb the offending behavior, they only drive it further underground making the exchanges less open and more prone to be entangled with violent criminality.
Colin Cowherd is a clueless statist.
The real solution, as I’ve already explained, is to get the government’s claws out of college sports (and all education, and professional sports), and let individuals freely associate as they wish. The corporations and schools shouldn’t be allowed special monopoly protections on wealth generated by these athletes.
The president of the NCAA makes more than $1 million a year. Any head coach worth his salt is making two or three times that. Talking heads at ESPN/ABC/CBS and the presidents of most major institutions join them in the seven digit salary club.
That’s what this is really about, and people have to understand that. Why is it a problem for AJ Green to sell his jersey when the NCAA sells 22 variations of the very same jersey? Why can’t Terrelle Pryor get some free ink from a fan? Why don’t people react the same way to that as they do to hearing that Peyton Manning is selling phones for Sprint or that Tiger Woods gets paid $100m to wear Nike gear? What’s the difference?
The difference, as far as I can tell, is that the NCAA has done a wonderful job duping people [with government protection, natch - LAL] into believing this multi-billion dollar a year industry is pursued for the sake of amateurism. It’s a total sham. The coaches aren’t amateurs, the administrators aren’t amateurs, the corporate sponsors and media companies that make hundreds of millions of dollars a year on the backs of these players aren’t amateurs. The only “amateurs” involved are the guys doing all the work. Pretty nice racket if you can get it.
The NCAA and ESPN are going to be telling you that some great kids are scumbags because they allegedly broke rules designed to keep them poor and implemented by people making money hand over fist. An ESPN shill in a $5,000 suit is going to ask you to morally condemn the kids who provide the framework for said shill to make enough money to afford that suit because those kids might have taken some free food and drinks. They’re going to be called “cheaters” despite the obvious fact that boat trips don’t make you run any faster or hit any harder.
Oklahoma gives Bob Stoops $3 million a year and nobody blinks. A car dealership in Norman gives Rhett Bomar a couple hundred bucks and everyone wets themselves. Urban Meyer sat on TV this very day, making approximately $1,500 an hour to sit there and flap his lips, and was asked to judged a bunch of 20 year old kids for allegedly accepting free food and drinks and party invites.
Is that immense delusion intentional or do people actually not realize the hypocrisy they perpetuate?
This essentially echoes my take.
This is like watching a couple of mall cops trying to contain America’s drug war, so now it is the University of Miami’s turn (again) to be devoured by the scandal of the month. The system is broken, and the rules are not only antiquated and dumb but also mean next to nothing to so many of the athletes being asked to abide by them. And yet we somehow keep trying to police the anarchy instead of the government that keeps creating it.
I keep waiting for America to get bored with these collegiate scandals and stigmatized students, the way it did with baseball steroids, but the media machine somehow keeps feeding on these reruns, the multibillion-dollar NFL keeps getting a free and monopolized minor-league system, and Pete Carroll simply flees an unholy mess with more power and money while the blame and the shame go to the poor kids. Poor, literally. …
Football and basketball are what make college sports relevant and profitable. Those sports traffic in poor inner-city talent. The rules of the NCAA, the governing body, are not quite the same as the rules on the street, and neither is the desperation the same near the library on the manicured campus as it is in the ghetto. The poor inner-city talent is expected to abide by these made-up rules — rules that are not their rules, rules not made by or for the poor and continually broken by the poor — and that’s understandable. The exchange is a free education. But the only real way for a football player to make it from the desperation of the inner city to the multi-billion-dollar NFL is through the NFL’s free and monopolized minor league. These rules keep getting broken because the rules either a). don’t mean much of anything to the inner city breaking them or b). the desperation of the inner city has outgrown the rules.
Related: See my post College Athletes and Money
The University of Miami is in the news for the alleged conduct of some football and basketball players and coaches over an eight-year period. A rich booster, who is now in prison for conducting a nearly-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme, has released seedy details of giving players and recruits gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars.
My dad took me to my first UM football game in 1981 or 1982. I haven’t missed a season since, despite having lived in LA for a number of years now. To say I’m a die-hard, bleed-orange-and-green ‘Canes fan would be an understatement. I don’t wish to get into the particulars of this specific case, but I will say that the accuser is a convicted pathological liar and that most of the charges (though unfortunately not all) seem exaggerated or uncorroborated. I certainly hope so, anyway.
But I’d like to discuss how this relates to the primary theme and purpose of this site: liberty.
I can understand why universities would not want their student athletes receiving money - any money the students get is money not donated or otherwise given to the school. But what kind of rationale is that? The school and the NCAA, and the coaches, and ESPN, and video game designers, and countless others get to make
millions billions off students who can only receive scholarships, room, board, and some meals? This is a sham.
Personally, I don’t see the problem in allowing student athletes to make money. No other scholarship student is penalized for receiving money or gifts from outsiders. If an acting major was paid to sign autographs, who would stop him? If IBM offers grants to promising engineering students, who cries foul because IBM is a potential future employer? PHd students customarily help their professors in research for their for-profit textbooks - and are usually compensated in some form in return. Film students are urged to create school projects that can be in turn submitted to film festivals for cash prizes and distribution deals. Why shouldn’t college athletes - many of whom are statistically from low-income families - be afforded the same opportunity to capitalize on their skills, assets, and abilities?
The students should be free to pursue their interests however they wish as long as they are not hurting anyone else (which throws out any “knock X player out of the game for money”-type of situation). If the coaches think the athlete is a distraction or the athlete is not putting the team’s interest first, or whatever, then the coach can sit, suspend, or cut the kid. If the athlete can’t maintain a certain GPA because he’s distracted by the money, then the university can boot the kid.
The only caveat I would make is that the schools themselves, if funded by taxpayers, should not pay the athletes. But I don’t see how any private schools that receive money only from donations, sponsorships, tuitions, and other voluntary sources should be prohibited from doing so. If the school’s academics suffer because of their prioritization, then they lose tuitions, donations, etc. Also, having schools maintain a minimum number of students as a precondition to participating in NCAA sports is a perfectly reasonable requirement.
Student athletes should not be subjected to what essentially amounts to indentured servitude because of the government-supported monopoly of the NCAA and the government school system.
Education - and, thus, college sports - should be privatized.
I went to a baseball game tonight. I try to visit a few different stadiums every summer. As disgustingly corporatist as all sports tend to be, I can’t help myself but be a fan of athletic competition.
As is customary, the game would be preceded by a recital of the “Pledge of Allegiance” (something perhaps not all stadiums do) and a singing of the national anthem. The good sport I am, I stood up for both - but I neither removed my hat nor placed my hand over my “heart.” I also didn’t recite or sing a syllable.
Well, some older gentleman a few rows back yelled at me repeatedly to remove my hat. If this state pomposity and pageantry is so important to him, why would he take his attention away from it and focus it on me? I ignored him, figured he’d take a hint.
Alas, his skull was too dense for any hint to penetrate - once hats were returned to heads and asses returned to seats, he scuttered up to me and yelled: “How dare you not take your hat off? Don’t you have any damn respect for this country?”
I stayed seated. I’m a big dude with no shortage of experience in fights (though I’ve since considerably tempered my temper from my college days); as such, I have nothing to prove and less to gain by responding in anger. I calmly replied: “What better way to respect our freedoms than to exercise them? Plus - not that it should matter - you don’t know what reasons I may have to keep my hat on. I could have just had a head injury…” Probably an unecessary point, but I was trying to highlight how ridiculously selfish it is to assert that his priorities should trump mine.
He screamed something about a tumor and that there’s no excuse for my blasphemy (not a word he used, though the sentiment was clear), at which point the person I went to the game with shouted some expletive-flavored versions of my arguments and generally diffused the situation through livid escalation.
The “Pledge of Allegiance” (which was written by a socialist to help sell flags and magazine subscriptions to public schools) - is creepy. I do not pledge myself to a piece of fabric. I will gladly swear allegiance to my daughters, my wife, my family, my God, people truly important to me… but to a government? No. Governments are forever changing and catering to the interests of something or someone else. To pledge myself to a government is to pledge my loyalty to the whims and corruption of others, and to the tyrannical monopolizer of force that continually finds new ways to aggress against me and my loved ones (to the tune of hundreds of thousands of laws).
Dear statists: not following state customs is not an affront to society or an insult to you or any other individual, even a “hero” who may have “paid the greatest sacrifice for my freedoms.” The state and its symbols are not synonymous with society. Nor are they representative of you or any other individual in particular. When your identity is intermixed with your government and your patriotism becomes sacerdotal reverence, you become a mindless minion of the state to be manipulated into agreeing to whatever loss of liberty best suits your
Be a good neighbor to your fellow man, not a doting subject to the state.
I, for one, will follow the words of Albert Camus:
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
Some Ohio State football players are currently in news circulation for trading autographs for tattoos. A relatively minor story, but it involves a much larger concern.
In any other career, earning a living while honing your skills and furnishing your education is considered noble.
An accounting student is encouraged to find a firm to freelance or apprentice in. A music major can DJ or play his saxophone for money on his own time. An art major is encouraged to create, showcase, and if possible sell his pieces. PHd students customarily help their professors in research for their for-profit textbooks. Biology students make money assisting in pharmaceutical studies. Nutrition majors work as dietician assistants. Film students are urged to create personal projects to submit to film festivals for cash prizes and distribution deals. An actor or dancer at Juilliard would be able to perform on stage in her own time - and sell autographs to anyone willing to pay.
Student athletes should not be subjected to what essentially amounts to indentured servitude because of the government-supported monopoly of the NCAA and the government school system.
Education - and college football - should be privatized.