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To boycott or not to boycott, that is the question.

©04 The Media Desk

Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 10:54:09 -0600
From: Tim
Subject: Pro sports boycott

I work 6 days a week at 2 jobs to buy groceries. Yea, I played baseball in high school and I love to watch hockey, but I think it's abominable at the money pro athletes are paid. I went to a Texas Ranger's game at the end of the season last year (after they were so far in the cellar they had roots growing) only because someone gave me tickets for free.   Is there a feasible way to get a grassroots boycott of pro sports together? To make the players and owners take notice? I heard a football player justify his huge salary because his sports "career" lifespan was short and he needed to make all his money (for the rest of his life) during those short years.   I think if anyone goes into a "career" that short, they ought to have a secondary career to fall back on (other than a sportscaster).
Just my $.02.  
Thanks, Tim

Excellent topic sir.

satire mode: ON
     Unfortunately, see, baseball season is upon us, and March Madness is firing up, and the Winston Cup… no, the NASCAR Cup, no, that's not what it is this week, the Bluetooth PDA Cup? (Or does Hillary hate those too?) Whatever it is.
     The Desk understands your frustration with watching some Prima Donna acting millionaire like Alan Iverson strutting around shooting his mouth off, or more recently, sitting down and shooting his mouth off. Or Keyshawn Johnson refusing to play nice with others and share his crayons and getting booted of the team for his efforts. Or everybody that tried to have Dale Earnhardt canonized after his death in a racing accident even though anybody that is sober has to admit he was one of the dirtiest drivers going and the only reason he got away with bump drafting and other not-so-nice tactics is that he was Dale Earnhardt.
     There are reasons Jacksonville QB Mark Burnell was paid Eight Thousand Dollars a MINUTE during games. Good reasons. And they would have made sense if the Jags actually made it to the Superbowl.
     NBA stars play the shortest timed game in pro sports. So they don't get the Network TV face time they deserve. So, you see, Dennis Rodman had to wear that wedding dress, and Penny Hardaway had to abuse us with his loud-mouthed cartoon, and Charles Barclay had to sit and cry, and Mr. Jordan just HAD to go out and recruit high school kids for Washington so they wouldn't show him up after he had retired twice.
     Professional Athletes do not breathe the same air we do. They are 'Special'. Made of finer stuff and possessing special talents and abilities we the average schmuck does not have and will never understand.
     They are to be allowed certain leeway and forgiven some even heinous indiscretions.
     Just ask the football players at Colorado. Or even better, the women affiliated with the program.
     They are our gladiators. And when they are at the top of their game, whatever that game may be, they are to be coddled and pampered lest they get upset and then blame a stupid mistake like using a 'practice bat' when they get caught breaking the rules.
     And if some team owner is willing to pay some Bozo three million dollars a season to sit on the bench… who are we to complain?
     Even if the team jacks up their ticket prices to where we can't afford to go to a game and if we do, we find the concessions priced out of reach and end up standing in line at the water fountain for the whole third inning.
     After all. We are the ones forking out a hundred and fifteen dollars for a pair of shoes endorsed by some pretty boy who was just placed on probation for assault. Even when the no-name all but identical shoes made in the same factory in China are on sale for thirty bucks in the rack at the end of the aisle. We do it, and are proud of it.
     We are the ones that honestly believe having some fancy dude in a soft drink commercial makes this sodapop taste better than that one without the athlete or the hip hop star or pretty woman or whoever pitching it. And it does, doesn't it?
     We are the ones that stand three deep at the dealership to buy the car some golfer is pictured driving. And you just know that plopping down twelve hundred dollars a month in car payment will make your drives off the tee go straight down the fairway.
     It is We the Fans that applaud and cheer through the ego pumping superstar cartoons on the Video-Tron at the stadium when the 'Marquee' players are introduced, even when the superstar is never seen again because he's holding out on a contract dispute.
     We dress our kids in team colors and fork out big bucks for jackets and put stickers on our cars and all that. And then when our team chokes in the playoffs, or our driver ends up finishing last in three races straight, or the owner takes our team and moves it to Des Moines because he can't get a new stadium, we live with it, and go on, or spend more money next season on somebody else.
     Besides, you, as a fan don't count.
     Baseball is not a Game. It is an Industry. If you turn in your season tickets, no problem, we have a waiting list of Major Corporations that will buy them to give to Politicians so they get bills passed favorable to the owners.
     The equipment manufacturers don't worry about somebody boycotting The Masters because it's being held at a private club that serves real meat on their salad bar. There are howevermany more fans out there that don't care that will buy goods and services in spite of it. Or maybe, because of it, Free Publicity- right?
     The track owners and sanctioning bodies don't give two hoots in hell about the ticket buyers. They can cut the length of the race from 500 miles to 400, and raise the ticket price in the bargain, and then have to build more seats because they keep selling out every event they have. And guess what? We thank them for doing it and pass out honors to them at the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.
     Remember the furor in New York when The Yankees owner cut that deal that pulled all Yankees games off free TV and forced people to pay to watch them? There was a boycott, for awhile. But then the Yanks got into a close pennant race and that all evaporated.
     The owners know any move they make will piss people off. But they also know that even if they put lights up at Wrigley Field or move the Northstars to Dallas, they will get some new fans, and some of the old ones will be back, the first time the team hits the field in a 'rivalry game'.

The satire got a bit strained about five paragraphs ago…. Satire Mode Off.

     Yes it is a shame.
     And yes there are people who have sworn off professional sports and have found something else to do on weekends.
     But even then, the owners, the agents, the lawyers, the vendors, the union bosses, and maybe even the occasional player are all making money. Somehow.
     And since the Phoenix Cardinals do not produce any hard goods such as cars or light bulbs or even pizza really, they do not ADD anything of VALUE to the economy. And you can't call a loosing football season a "Service" really. A service is when you get your car washed or have the carpenter ants that are eating your porch killed. Being frustrated by a quarterback that can't throw a decent play action pass is hardly a service.
     But there is some merit to the argument that Pro Sports ARE our gladiatorial games and all we as a populace require is "Bread and Circuses".
     Why else would one of the Desk's friends be a "Die Hard" Eagles Fan when the Birds have choked three years in a row in the NFC Title Game?
     Why else would another friend be a Kyle Petty Fan when for the most part the closest he's gotten to Victory Lane in the last five years is walking by on his way back to the garage after a wreck?
     Why would a co-worker have Delaware State University stuff all over their area when the schools entire combined in-conference sports record comes out as something between dismal and abysmal? "Hope springs eternal."
     The old clique 'We'll get'em next year' is still widely used by the other 31 teams in the NFL.
     And there are Cubs fans that smirk and say, "Anybody can have a bad century".

     In any case.
     We could try to organize a boycott. A search through Google will come up with several "Irate Fan" sites or "Boycott MLB" sites.
     The Desk itself made a pitch to boycott Baseball some time ago. But all it got for its efforts was a canned response from the league office about how they appreciated its interest in the sport.

     But it is a nice thought.

Thanks for the email.

Dr. Leftover
The Media Desk

       [NOTE: The Desk is NOT affiliated with any of the above named organizations or individuals except for being a rather disgusted fan and former sportswriter. "Tim" as named in the email gave his permission for his note to be used.
       All team names and leagues are registered to their respective owners and are used without too much intent to disparage or disrespect any individual or organization of Professional Athletes.

        Thank You ]

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