Much respect to J.A. Adande and Kevin Blackistone for calling out the ridiculous association between militarism (and state worship) and sports.
Related: Public State Worship
The problem with all this is, of course, that one painting by an expressionist Swiss artist who’s been dead since 1966 costs slightly less than the entire roster of his professional baseball team. The one he threatened to move to San Antonio unless Miami-Dade’s taxpayers bought him a snazzy new ballpark. The one he keeps dismantling for “financial” reasons.
All stadium deals are a transfer of wealth from the common taxpayer to a billionaire owner, bureaucrats, and unionized contractors - all under the convenient cover afforded it by the farcical Keynesian concern for “aggregate demand.”
I’m a Marlins fan (I know, I know), and some of my friends supported the building of this ultra-modern stadium (which was sadly built over the ashes of my beloved Orange Bowl). Many were afraid the Marlins would leave the city, and somehow justified wanton theft and political crookedness because of such a threat. Even those who voiced serious concerns about the cost and the corruption echoed the Keynesian broken window nonsense that such a project would be a net economic boon.
They, of course, couldn’t be more wrong.
Stadium building is a direct fleecing of the common man to enrich the coffers of the ultra-rich, facilitated by politicians and connected cronies who profit along the way. And this Miami example
We’ve aired our grievances with the very concept of public financing for sports stadiums, especially the sweetheart deal Jeffrey Loria got for Marlins Park, where the team had to cover less than 20 percent of the cost. But even if you’re not philosophically opposed to tax money going to multi-millionaire owners, it’s hard to look at all the zeroes Miami-Dade County is on the hook for and not be physically ill.
The county chipped in $500 million for the construction of Marlins Park. The county did not have $500 million, but construction needed to start and be paid for immediately. So Miami-Dade borrowed the money by selling bonds on Wall Street, a loan which won’t come due for decades. When it does, it’s going to hurt.
The Miami Herald does the math on just one set of those bonds, which raised $91 million. Payments begin in 2026, and quickly skyrocket. By 2048, when the last payment is due, the total reaches $1.18 billion.
Here’s your handy chart, via the Herald:
The county commissioners voted on selling the bonds in a hastily-called meeting shortly after midnight on July 1, 2009. Just days before the secretive vote, County Manager George Burgesstold commissioners he didn’t know what the final costs would be. The measure passed anyway.
Remember, this $1.2 billion is only on one set of bonds. The total payments for all of the $500 million borrowed by the county will eventually come in at a whopping $2.4 billion. Not only did Jeffrey Loria get taxpayers to buy him a stadium, but they bought him the most expensive stadium ever built.
To add insult to injury, Loria dumped payroll on the team after only one year - leaving Miami fans with the tab for a mostly unwatchable product.
I’ve been to the stadium. Although it’s very nice (it better be!), there’s one very visible eye-sore (aside from the team): the atrocious art installation in the outfield, which is exactly the sort of gaudy waste that can only be facilitated with other people’s money.
I’m scared of spiders, snakes, and the IRS.
— Bill Parcells’ response during a press conference as head coach of the NY Giants when asked if he was scared of the Redskins.
A follow-up to this post.
Florida Gators linebacker Antonio Morrison, a sophomore, was arrested at 3:43 a.m. Sunday for walking by a police car, barking at a police dog that was in the backseat, and then “resisting arrest.” The cop was in the process of investigating a disturbance, so Morrison was charged with “interfering with a police animal.” … Yesterday, all charges were dropped when state attorney William Cervone watched the arrest video and determined that the whole thing was bogus and there was no “malicious intent” when Morrison barked at the dog.
But … [w]hy is it called “resisting arrest” in Florida when you don’t resist arrest … at all?
It is resisting arrest simply because you don’t give the cops the impression that you’re happy to be arrested? If that’s the case, I’m all for it. Cops work hard, and I think they deserve a little gratitude. Even if you’re the one being arrested. I just think that needs to be made clear in the actual rules. I would call it the “Happy-Time Smiles Law.” If you don’t have a sunny disposition around a cop, that’s resisting arrest. Even if you’re not being arrested. People have too much freedom. I should probably be arrested for even writing this. …
White Hot. Back 2 Back.
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.