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Sports And Politics

The day after the Super Bowl, politics and mega-sports. Imperial sports.

Super Bowl football fans walk past a several-stories tall likeness of San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick on the Audubon Nature Center along the Riverwalk, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in New Orleans.  (AP)

Super Bowl football fans walk past a several-stories tall likeness of San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick on the Audubon Nature Center along the Riverwalk, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP)

The lights went out, but the game went on – eventually. Baltimore Ravens over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl 47. High action on the field at the Superdome. And all kinds of action all around the play, the football.

There were the kids from Newtown, Connecticut sweetly singing. There was Beyonce, all strong grace and sex and curls. There were the ads, for Oreos and beer.

And all over and around, big politics. Oprah speaking up for vets. Paul Harvey for farmers. A Raven’s linebacker for gay marriage. President Obama, before the kickoff.

This hour, On Point: big sports and big politics.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guest

Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation magazine. His new book is “Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down.”

From Tom’s Reading List

The Nation  “Super Bowl XLVII is being billed as the Harbaugh Bowl: the battle between Jim and John Harbaugh, head coaches, respectively, of the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. It will also be played by two NFL teams connected directly and indirectly to the struggles for LGBT rights. Read that last sentence again, and appreciate for a moment how far fighters for LGBT equality have traveled.”

The New Republic “Zirin’s latest book, Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down, is a more explicitly left-wing, twenty-first century incarnation of the Lipsyte project. It hovers over the wide world of sports, galloping liberally from the players to owners, from economic inequality to gender inequality. While the chapters work as stand-alone pieces, Zirin’s central argument is that politics, having dominated sports during Lipsyte’s day, “has returned with a vengeance” following “the apolitical 1990s.” And he insists that “the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

The New York Times ”Gearing up for the 2016 Olympic Games to be held here, officials celebrated plans for a futuristic “Olympic Park,” replete with a waterside park and athlete villages, promoting it as ‘a new piece of the city.’ There was just one problem: the 4,000 people who already live in that part of Rio de Janeiro, in a decades-old squatter settlement that the city wants to tear down. Refusing to go quietly and taking their fight to the courts and the streets, they have been a thorn in the side of the government for months.”

Excerpt of “Game Over”

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  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Considering how much money we spend on sports entertainment in the USA, and on meaningless entertainment, in general, how can we ever argue that we don’t have money for more substantive projects ? Sure, sports and like industries produce jobs, income, and tax revenue but by their very nature have little substance and produce little in the way of lasting and real wealth. Besides, we never take into account the hidden cost of the sporting industry, such as tax incentives given to wealthy team owners to build stadiums and bond issues that load the taxpayer with debt and the corruption of politicians and corporations that force Tax Increment Financing
    (TIF,)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_increment_financing

    on tax payers to fund sporting projects. Then there is the enormous amount of time wasted on watching sports and talking about sports ! There are even massive hidden cost, such as, the cost of traffic jams caused due to sporting events. I can only wonder what great things we could accomplish if we were to take just one years worth of sporting dollars and redirect those dollars to advancing ourselves. Mind-boggling !

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    It is quite easy to understand why our society has such an over-focus and accepting view of sex outside of responsible, committed, monogamous family relationships.    First, Beyonce is held up as a role model singing our national anthem at the inauguration.  A few weeks later, she and a host of support singers parade around for 20 minutes in their underwear on a world stage gyrating to loud noise, and proclaiming to the world that this is the best that America has to offer.  No wonder we have so many unplanned pregnancies, the need to fix it by promoting abortion, STDs, and children growing up without the benefit of two nurturing parents.  

    • Fiscally_Responsible

      When describing marriage, I used several adjectives.  I forgot one more extremely important adjective:  heterosexual

      • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

        Maybe you should add serial monogamy. Isn’t that what the majority of heterosexual relationships end up being?

    • Ray in VT

      So Beyonce and her attire promote unplanned pregnancy, abortion and single parenthood?  Who woulda thunk it?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        it is obvious to anyone with half a brain watching her show that it is very sexually suggestive and is supposed to excite sexually with no associated responsibilities or traditional morals necessary.  The intended audience is not older, heterosexually married men.  That only leaves unmarried younger people.  And not just her performance, but many other of the ads, etc. certainly make adultery attractive.  Without any presentation of the negative downsides that I listed in my original post.  You can kid yourself that that is not the intended message.  It is just one of thousands of examples of how our society is going downhill.  Societal acceptance of gay marriage is another.

        • Ray in VT

          Maybe we should only show performers from the waist up, I mean that stopped people from having premarital sex back in Elvis’ day.

          Seriously, though, I am not a big fan of a lot of the overly sexual advertising, and I am of two minds regarding some of the attire that is sported by some young women.  On the one hand I would not want my daughter wearing such things, but, on the other hand, I am a fan of the female figure.  It can be a glorious thing.

          I think that you’re being a bit over the top here.  I don’t think that such performances make adultery attractive, and I can certainly appreciate the eye candy as much as any man half my age.  I’m married, not blind (or dead depending upon the saying).

          I do not see the flashing of some skin as the downfall of society, and neither is gay marriage.  The latter doesn’t hurt me or you, and just think of all of the jobs that gay marriage could support.  It seems pretty fiscally responsible to me.  It encourages long term, stable relationships.

          • 1Brett1

            Especially when one considers how much the female form has been the subject of art all through human history. It would be quite a leap to suggest that the representation of the female form somehow encourages adultery.

          • Ray in VT

            I don’t know, Brett.  Can’t we just buy a big curtain and cover up the nakedness of that harlot, Lady Justice?  Or maybe we can redesign the state seal to get rid of that 18th century rudeness.

          • 1Brett1

            Here, here! …We wouldn’t want any state-sponsored advocacy of adultery, after all!

          • Ray in VT
          • 1Brett1

            Both Cuccinelli AND McDonnell are pieces of work! They each have served to turn back the hands of time in Virginia (and not in a good way!).

        • DrewInGeorgia

          Is the inability to hit the power button when there is material we find offensive among those thousands of examples?

          Am I the only one who thinks statements like “That scantily clad female made me have impure thoughts and enact impure deeds!” smacks of “Men shall not have to bare the temptation that a woman whose face and form create when not completely covered!”?

          • Ray in VT

            I almost suggested that what was needed was to cover the offending forms so that temptation need not occur.  Whatever happened to the good ole days of waiting by a streetcar to catch a glimpse of a wool sock covered ankle?

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            You cad! You masher!

          • sickofthechit

            Moths?

          • Ray in VT

            Good one.

          • 1Brett1

            Wasn’t the uncovering of women’s ankles the beginning of the decline of western civilization? I’m sure one could dredge up some study linking an association with bare ankles and adultery. 

          • Ray in VT

            If there is one, then it was probably put out by an organization with family in the title.

          • 1Brett1

            Wasn’t that the Family Council on Ankle Modesty, the watch-dog organization that gave ratings to various ankle garments and their appropriateness?  

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          If you think that was raunchy, you should have seen Evelyn Nesbitt back in the day. And that was before married couples had the right to birth control

        • 1Brett1

          Are you saying we’d be much better off socially if the Super Bowl still featured acts (as they used to) from music groups such as Up With People (funded by Haliburton, General Motors, Exxon and Searle to counter  hippie culture in the ’60s and ’70s)? After all, Up With People had at its Christian roots many ties to the Moral Re-Armament Movement from earlier decades.

          A woman wearing a skimpy outfit is tantamount to making adultery attractive? Should Beyonce be wearing a scarlet A this morning?

    • hennorama

      Wow.  A halftime performance during the most watched television event of the year, sponsored by a soft drink company, that involved an entertainer in a revealing costume?  One can see far more revealing outfits at virtually every beach on a warm sunny day.

      The horror ….

      Presumably your television lacks an [OFF] switch.

      BTW, for comparison purposes, here’s an image from 1909, showing German film star Lil Dagover (1887 – 1980) wearing a swimming costume with stockings.

      Source:http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/virtualvacation/sns-pgc-bathing-suits-pictures,0,1613725.photogallery

  • Gregg Smith
    • 1Brett1

      I see…you’re just asking a question; you weren’t juxtaposing energy efficiency policies with problems or anything. Why, I’d be mind reading, telling you what you think, accusing you of motives I project on to you, etc., if I suggested you made any such comparison. 

      Didn’t Hitler gin up opposition to the Jews by making comparisons among several unrelated phenomena and their existence? It’s off topic, I know; I just thought I’d relate that as it might be interesting to people who didn’t realize that fact and might wish to study it closer. It isn’t in relationship to your comment, of course.

      • Gregg Smith

        I did not know about the energy efficient redo until I read it this morning. It’s seems unlikely that there was too much of a draw on the grid to blow the fuse. However, something went wrong, I’ve never seen that happen.

        Hitler?

        • 1Brett1

          That’s cool; a lot of neocons go to energy.gov. articles to read when they get up first thing in the morning.

          • Ray in VT

            Drudge, probably among others, linked to it today.

          • Gregg Smith

            That’s where I saw it. If the entire venue was reworked, it likely stemmed from that. The power did not go off anywhere else. Still energy efficiency is good, it’s a laudable effort. I have no problem with it. But someone’s head is rolling this morning. It was a major SNAFU. I wonder if extra ad time was sold?

          • Ray in VT

            Such changes could potentially save a venue like a stadium millions of dollars over time, but there’s always the risk of getting a couple of wires crossed when you do some major work.  I remember a year or two ago when the lights went out on another NFL game, and it took quite a while to fire everything back up.

            I thought about the ads aspect as well.  Presumably they have some sort of plan for if the game goes into overtime, although I don’t think that a Super Bowl ever has.  Maybe they have some sort of reserve pot of adds that they can run, or re-run, in such a situation with the details worked out with the advertisers ahead of time.

          • Gregg Smith

            That would make sense, I’m sure they also have provisions if the game runs short and some ads are not aired. 

            It was a good game but that will not be remembered as much as the blackout. The year my Carolina Panthers made it, Janet Jackson showed her boob. No one remembers the game.

          • Ray in VT

            I remember that one fairly was, as I am a Patriots fan.  I did not see the “malfunction”, as I was reading a book with the tv muted, because I didn’t care about Janet or Justin, although the latter has done some nice work on SNL since then.  I caught the second half of last night’s game on the radio on the way home, and I had to sit in the car, glued to the speakers on that last drive by the 49ers.  A fine game indeed, but you’re right, it will probably be remembered more for the blackout.

    • Acnestes

      I figured it was to extend the game so the network could sell more commercial airtime.

  • Gregg Smith

    I loved the Jeep ad but missed the Farmer ad with Paul Harvey. It was even better. Good stuff!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sillEgUHGC4

    • 1Brett1

      Of course, God made a good Christian farmer (on the eighth day, as Harvey said, after God’s day of rest). The earth was made in six days, then an extra day for “God” to “make a farmer.” On which day did God make the man who made Dodge Ram trucks? 

      • Gregg Smith

        I don’t think he specified “Christian” farmer. I liked the ad.

        • 1Brett1

          Well, Christians do believe that “God” created the earth in 6 days. Was the ad intended to emphasize atheist farmers being the salt of the earth? 

          • Gregg Smith

            I think it’s 7 days but I’m quite sure they don’t believe God made the Farmer on the eighth.

            I really thought it was more about the farmer than God. Just as “God bless you” is more about you than God. “God bless the Queen” is not really about God. I didn’t see it as about atheist either.

            It was an homage to hard work, rugged individualism, compassion, ethics, stamina and family. What’s not to like?

          • 1Brett1

            He rested on the 7th day…

            Did Dodge pay millions of dollars for this ad only to have the agency producing this ad to unintentionally associate God, earth, family values, ethics, compassion, etc.? A multi-million dollar ad campaign that runs an ad for a very finite 2 minutes has content that is accidental/unintentional in it?

            I’m guessing the producers of this ad probably didn’t have any homage to farmers in mind as their objective, just selling trucks/pandering to them (or those who fashion themselves weekend farmers/rugged/ethical/ family-oriented). 

          • Gregg Smith

            All I know is I went out and bought a Dodge Ram this morning.

          • 1Brett1

            Now, see, if the ad had emphasized how dependable Dodge Ram trucks were for Muslim terrorists fleeing after planting a bomb, you probably wouldn’t have bought one. 

            What? You mean you didn’t go out and buy a Jeep? Don’t you support our troops returning home?

          • Gregg Smith

            I already had a Jeep.

  • DrewInGeorgia

    There was a Football Game yesterday?
    How many resources were consumed so that the masses could enjoy their Modern Day Gladiatorial Game?
    Thank goodness we have learned to put our priorities in order…

    • Gregg Smith

      Well, one also has to consider how much money came in to New Orleans. They needed a shot in the arm. Are you bitter because the Falcons lost to San Francisco?

      • DrewInGeorgia

        lol, bitter? No.
        I just think it’s sad that Americans feel they need to be provided with a diversion worthy of their greatness prior to “investing” in a community.

        Exploitation does not equal investment. Don’t mind me, in my view all Commercialized “Sports” should cease to exist. NASCAR should be the first to go, can anyone show me a more wasteful human endeavor? These are just my opinions Gregg. Pay no attention to me, I’m aware that I’m just a Party Pooper.

        • Gregg Smith

          Yea, I got your point. I just couldn’t help myself. And it’s a good point. 

          I’ve avoided becoming a NASCAR fan even though I’m in the thick of it. I hear it’s incredible to see up close. I hear the same thing about Hockey. 

          • Ray in VT

            Pardon me for butting in, gentlemen, but I have also never understood the appeal of NASCAR, although one of my former co-workers tried to convince me.  On a side note 2 of the top dozen or so NASCAR radio guys started out on small tracks here in Vermont.  It’s not really relevant here, but it’s a bit odd from my point of view.

            I think that hockey is great, but I can’t watch it on TV.  Live is another story.  UVM, which was just up the road from where I grew up, has produced a number of NHL guys, and former NHLer John LeClair went to my high school.  The sport is a really big deal up here, and I’m glad to see it back.  It amazes me how the players and the league have hurt themselves with these work stoppages.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I used to go to hockey matches pretty regularly when I was a “contributing member of society”. They were fun I guess, the draw for many though seemed to be getting to drink alcohol while watching grown men beat the crap out of each other.

          • Ray in VT

            “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out” is the saying.  My wife and father-in-law like that aspect, although my wife wouldn’t go for the booze, unless they’re serving mudslides at hockey games now.

          • Gregg Smith

            The Hartford team moved to Raleigh and actually made a huge splash. But I’ve never been.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, the old Whalers.  I still see some of their old gear around.  There’s a lot of thought that expansion into some of the warmer cities has hurt the league, but I’m sure that that varies from city to city.  The Atlanta Flames moved to Canada (for the second time, I think), and the Canadians, for whom hockey is almost a religion, have a bit of resentment for some of the moves that have happened, such as with the Quebec Nordiques moving to Colorado.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            Don’t get me started on Bettman’s quest to destroy hockey. I’d almost accuse him of getting bribed by the other sport commissioners to ruin his league, except what could they want him to do to himself that he isn’t already?

          • Gregg Smith

            Up north they like Hockey and down hear they like NASCAR and each can’t understand why the other does. 

            I have played a few private parties for drivers. Kyle Petty  is one, I got to meet his dad. The garages are unbelievable examples of technology and I found that pretty interesting. The team owner at the time was Felix Sabates who is hispanic. He wanted to sing La Bamba but then he wouldn’t get off the stage… but he kept peeling off $100 bills from the wad in his pocket. We played on.

          • Ray in VT

            My four year old loves La Bamba.  It’s one of his favorite bedtime songs.

          • DrewInGeorgia

            I hear detonation of an A-Bomb is incredible to see up close, maybe we should organize an event and start selling tickets.

            Impressive that you’re not feeding the NASCAR machine, I knew there was something I liked about you Gregg.

          • Gregg Smith

            Up close? You remind me of my days in Appalachia working with dynamite. BTW, in 1981 I could buy all I could haul in my pick-up and all I needed was a valid drivers license. One day ol’ Jesse was packing a stump and his cigarrette fell out of his mouth and down the hole. He just worked on and reminded us that no one ever gets hurt with dynamite.

            No point really.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            No one ever gets hurt with dynamite.

            And I thought I heard all the good axioms about physical recklessness.

      • Mike_Card

        The Falcons lost, but the Zac Brown Band gave the best rendition of the National Anthem all season.  Alicia Keyes sucked–someone needs to tell her that it’s not about her, it’s about the song.

        • Gregg Smith

          I saw that, I agree The Zac Brown Band was incredible.

          • Mike_Card

            I might just be a softy on this, but I think the National Anthem should be either all instrumental (like the Marine Band)–or a capella, like the Zac Brown group performed it.

        • Ray in VT

          My wife said that she jazzed it all up.  I really don’t like it when singers do that.

          • Mike_Card

            A lot of them take liberties that they’re just not entitled to.

          • Ray in VT

            I like the anthem nice and traditional.  It’s taken me years to get my wife to not try to talk to me during it.

          • Gregg Smith

            I agree, the song stands on it’s own. 

  • Steve_the_Repoman

    Public money – private stadiums.
    eminent domain – commercial interests.
    selling teams to the highest municipal bidders – moving/establishing franchises.
    Entertainment/idolotry/the hearts of most growing cold.

    I think there are quite a few interesting connections between sports/politcs.

    but then …”I like to watch…”

    • Shag_Wevera

      Idolotry…  Great word for this discussion.  Why must we pay them like gods?  Would the quarterback who makes 9 million quit playing if her were only paid $100,000?

      • Gregg Smith

        Let the market decide.

        • J__o__h__n

          Agreed if we stop the subsidies for the stadiums and allow a la carte cable plans.

          • Gregg Smith

            In Charlotte public money was not used to build the stadium but now they want a couple hundred million from local and State government to renovate. 

        • Shag_Wevera

          What if the market chooses soilent green?

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

            If the market chooses soilent green then I’m sure Mr. Smith will be more than happy to sell you some- for a tidy profit, of course. Quick, shove all those useless eaters into the Green Machine…there’s another “free” market & tons of money to be made- for a few.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

        Tangent: The idea of “we pay them” is ripe for further definition, methinks.

        On one hand, there’s a real opportunity cost chasing the business that is generated with a sports team or big event. Said commerce isn’t created anew, but pretty much transferred from somewhere or sometime else.

        On the other hand, the pronoun “we” strictly applies to a few people. A stockholder. A taxpayer to the worst stadium deal ever (say many, many sources).

        And even then we’re talking about something which is awfully out in the open, unlike many of the bribes govts make to corporations.

        On the other, other hand, it is entertainment and commerce and averages out to be no more stupid and over the top than gee-whiz promotion events like the Detroit Auto Show, ComicCons, Bridal Expos, and all the awards shows coming up on TV.

        PS Andrew Zimbalist is a great read on public monies and private sports.

  • Shag_Wevera

    What do you say about a country that pays hundreds (if not thousands) of professional athletes over 1 million dollars a year while actively discussing the need to cut benefits to the elderly and the poor?

    I personally know a single mother who makes $40/month too much to qualify for state aid in food and healthcare.  Meanwhile, our starting leftfielder for the pro club makes $12,000,000 per year. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    The thing that annoys me is the amount of public money that gets tied up in events like this, for security, etc.

    I’m not saying we should not have events like this – but maybe the bill could be presented to those making the big bucks from these events instead of dumping it on local tax payers?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    A spectical of chest beating millionaires smashing skulls and tearing joints. It sure beats lions and swords. It’s fun and inspiring for many but is still just a repsite from reality. These bread and circuses afford us distraction. Maybe now the microscope of news will be turned back on the idiots in Washington and outrage over their betrayals, stupidity and stark raving madness involved in sequestration will gain the attention in the news that they deserve.

  • RolloMartins

    Hearing those kids from Sandy Hook singing before the game…how ironic! Football is part of the violence problem that engulfed that school. Turning football off for good.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    What about the issue of national infrastructure?  How can we keep the lights on?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    Hey, there’ve been blackouts before in big games; no skin off NOLA’s nose. Boston Garden has its history of being electrically unprepared for basketball and hockey finals, hasn’t it?

  • DrewInGeorgia

    From The New York Times excerpt: “There was just one problem: the 4,000 people who already live in that part of Rio de Janeiro, in a decades-old squatter settlement that the city wants to tear down. Refusing to go quietly and taking their fight to the courts and the streets, they have been a thorn in the side of the government for months.”

    Those pesky poor people, not wanting to trade their squalid existence for displacement and starvation to make room for Our Shiny New Venue. What is wrong with them? How dare they!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    “Cartoonish violence” is the best description of the spectacle that is SuperBowl that I’ve ever heard.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    So many imagined dystopias include violence, spectacle, and politics all rolled together to titillate and control the masses.

    We’re just about there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I think we’ve been there for quite awhile, now, but people are so addicted to the jolts they get from manufactured violence-for-sale that they can’t imagine life without it. More’s the pity….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=519658314 JoAnne Bauer

    Will there be a discussion of the human trafficking surrounding Super Bowls ?

  • Scott B

    The concession food that was thrown out could probably feed a small third-world nation for a month.

    The Dodge Ram ad was good, and it was great hearing Paul Harvey again (a voice from my youth sitting in the kitchen with Mom), but why didn’t Ram the extra yard and push the local farmer vs factory farms, and supporting them in some way – A site, a twitter account, something, ANYTHING! . Nice words, but a small Future Farmers of America logo on the end plate read as a lament, and possibly and epitaph, especially when it ad was made to sound like Paul Harvey speaking from an old MovieTone, reel, and looking back on what we used to do. At least the “Imported from Detriot” ad with Clint Eastwood spoke of the future.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I submit that Ram trucks didn’t care about family farm v. factory farm because they did the math.

      The target audience aren’t farmers. Because there aren’t as many farmers to buy trucks as there were ~50 years ago. They are trying for the suburban poseurs who want a “passenger truck” and need to pretend they’re rougher and tougher and need (not “want”) to “butch up” from a minivan.

      Of course, that sort, many among whom I live, couldn’t deal with a Dodge truck made out of steel on the outside and rubber and plastic on the inside, like the ’64 Slant six with a three-on-the-tree that I was practically raised riding in.

      • Ray in VT

        I remember my neighbor’s 1980s Bronco.  It was smelly, dingy, and covered in dirt.  It barely had back seats in it.  He worked construction, and his was a utility vehicle.  It didn’t have leather or power anything.  I remember being in grad school and seeing this very well dressed woman driving a Lincoln SUV that had a cattle catcher on the front of it.  It is still one of the funniest things that I’ve ever seen.

      • 1Brett1

        A bit off topic, but your comment reminded me of the ’66 Dodge Dart (with a slant-six 225) that I had as my first car. It was a station wagon, and I ran that thing into the ground! It held up to my abuse, though, and had 298,000 miles on it when I sold it (of course, it was only firing on five cylinders at that point!).

  • mr917

    don’t forget the comments of Ray Lewis – apparently his football success proves that God thinks he’s innocent — just another case of religion being misused in our culture…

  • ToyYoda

    Seriously, it’s not gladatiorial fighting.  Gladiators fought with weapons, chopped limbs off, executed defeated gladiators, fought lions, got pierced, heads chopped off, limbs severed, got gutted, and eyes gouged out.  And we are comparing this with concussions.  yeah, gladiators got that too.

    There is no comparison, between gladiators and nfl players.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      The effects of an NFL career (they tend to be short) don’t manifest for years afterwards. Head injuries cause degenerative brain disease. That kills people slowly. Just because we don’t see these men in their declining years, slowly suffering & dying young, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Gladiators gave the audience immediate gratification to satisfy their bloodlust. That’s the only differece I can see between the 2 “sports”.

      • J__o__h__n

        At least the losing gladiator didn’t spout sports cliches after the match. 

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          But if TV was there, want to bet we’d still be treated to someone saying “it wasn’t his day”?

          There must be a cunieform with that scratched into it someplace.

      • ToyYoda

        I don’t disagree with your point.  And I’m not trying to defend the NFL in anyway, but I do take issues comparing it to roman gladiators. 

        The average gladiator would last about 10 bouts before they died.  The mortality rate is close to 100%.  It’s a real hyperbolic comparison to say that the NFL is a gladiator sport.  It’s extremely far from it.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YMV2HJ2TBKMCN2QRAVI3I2OOGM Jim Jim

    I think that the power outage says more about our countries consumption than it does about infrastructure.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

    I have no problem with the political face of sports.

    I think to “depoliticize” it would be unilateral disarmament. We’re still going to get the capital-P Patriotic and capital-C Christian viewpoints. And I guess the non-profit ads during the Super Bowl will continue in that bent. (No MoveOn ad in ’04, yet a pro-life ad with Tim Tebow.)

    For one, the NFL consciously decided to make capital-P Patriotism part of the Super Bowl since before it was even labelled the Super Bowl and given Roman Numerals. For another, I’m a NASCAR fan who’s waiting for any athiest to win a NASCAR race, even in the Craftsman Truck series.

  • sickofthechit

    Maybe she was making a dip?  In Tom’s world, only if she had already delivered cold beers to her husband and all his friends!
    Charles A. Bowsher

  • distractedriver

    There are probably thousands more professional football players than there are professional fighters.  But if you break it down to ratios, which profession (football vs i.e. boxing) results in more traumatic long-term brain injuries?  If the assumption that boxers would have more long-term head injuries than football players, yet the numbers prove the opposite, then I’d say the former football players would have a legitimate expectation to relative safety.

  • DeJay79

    Direct science might not have had proof, the league my have denied it, but common sense alone says A lifetime of physical abuse and blows to head is bad for your health.

    How long have we had boxing and known about being “punch drunk” at the end of one’s career.

    The NFL’s biggest mistake was to deny it  they should have just said we don’t know yet, or if they did know just say yep, it is a dangerous sport ohwell. People still would have played, we still would have watched and no lawsuits would be possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.applegate.50 Jon Applegate

    Teddy Roosevelt considering banning football in the early 1900′s due to violence and deaths.  It has always been inherently dangerous

  • sickofthechit

    Want to make football safer?  How about instead of fining players a measly $10,000 grand or so, fine them and their offensive/defensive coaches and the head coach an amount that equals their pay for that week.  Illegal hits would all but disappear.

    • DeJay79

       why not just make all hits illegal and give them flags that would also eliminate illegal hits and maybe do less harm to the game!

  • divine582

    The inclusion of the Newtown perfomance was an insulting emotional assualt pretendeing that all is well in Newtown. It was disgraceful.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Wouldn’t it be weird if instead of teams playing for their city or state they were out there playing for particular ideologies? The pro-gun against the gun control team? The pro gay marriage team against the anti gay marriage team?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I might actually enjoy the game – once or twice- if teams were representative of particular ideologies. As it stands:
      yawn….(crickets chirping)

    • sickofthechit

       Sign me up!

    • Tyranipocrit

       Thats the best idea ive heard all day. sweet.

  • J__o__h__n

    That was awful.  I hate when the national anthem is three times longer than it should be.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

      I wouldn’t say “awful”. But unless one is Marvin Gaye…

    • jimino

      It really wasn’t the national anthem.  More like a song based on the national anthem using the same words.

  • Alisa Bearov Landrum

    I do not have an interest in sports and do not watch – each year that fact is treated with more negative response, that has grown to even verge on anger! and the idea that I am somehow unAmerican, that my lack of watching is somehow a political statement – which it is not, I simply do not find sports interesting, I don’t make an issue of it, but when asked where I will be for the game I don’t hide that I will not be watching it. Still, that is often taken as a political statement.

    I find a huge irony that just as the idea that the Superbowl is one of the few things that
    bring us together as Americans, we are questioning
    the game and its impact on players and in fact whether it can continue
    as it is.

    Football, gladiators, the label “UnAmerican”… suicide, disease…quite the soup.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

      I relate totally, Alisa. Thanks for stating this so eloquently for those of us who are not sports fans yet remain good, conscientious American citizens nevertheless.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timewethink Mike Whitten

    If a 30 second ad during the superbowl is worth millions of dollars because it can influence an adult to buy a truck, why then do people discount the influence of violent video games and movies, which kids spend hours and hours devoting their attention to, when it comes to school shootings and the like.  It is completely irrational to deny the impact of socially acceptable violence in the continuation of a violent society,  school shootings, domestic violence, etc. Twenty six people died almost two months ago, and the media is still talking about it, and people are trying to outlaw guns, making guns ubiquitous in the news for two months and counting.  That must be worth trillions of dollars… in advertising, and it will undoubtedly lead to more violence.

    • Tyranipocrit

       why didnt oprah or or paul harvey speak out against guns–something that matters.

  • Jacqueline Belcher

    The caller from New Orleans was correct when she said football talk is a common denominator; however, I don’t think we should confuse that with the Superbowl being a platform for political and social change. The common denominator is the game not the surrounding entertainment – and let’s be honest, it is entertainment. The Hunger Games moving closer?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1488210183 Justin McNamara

    As a proud Bostonian, I was embarrassed when Tim Thomas refused to meet with President Obama after winning the Stanley Cup. While I support athletes’ right to express their political views, in some cases I think they need to just accept their roles as athletes and realize they’re representatives of our city and of their club. That’s not the time to make a statement.

  • Davesix6

    Justin would you have felt the same way had the President been George W Bush?

  • Davesix6

    @Ted the caller, do you feel that Union money shouldn’t be involved in politics.
    There are many Union members who have political opinions that differ from their union leadership.

  • Davesix6

    I wonder if Mr. Zirin is concerned with the messages being sent to young women these days?
    According to Hollywood and the left, female super hero and Femefatal’s  who are unquestionably violent are positive role models and empowering for young women and girls.
    So is there a double standard? You bet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stsbecker Suzanne Connelly Becker

    I need to comment about Beyonce’s performance at Halftime.  Tom, you used the words “girl power” and I think magnificent when mentioning her performance during the lead in to your show.  I was SO dissapointed to hear you use those words!  As a mother of a 9 year old daughter, I was horrified by her performance.  I’m not saying we should go back to “Up With People”, but was it really necessary to have scantily clad, snarling, crotch-rubbing, grinding, moaning, hair flipping women  prancing around at 8:00 on a Sunday evening when FAMILIES are watching with their kids? All that was missing was a stripper pole.  For me, the power went out about 20 minutes too late. 

    • DrewInGeorgia

      ((Power)) button.

      • Gregg Smith

        True, but it’s a shame it’s come to this. It used to be safe to make certain assumption about the definition of family entertainment in prime time. I suppose that’s still true but now a parent must assume the worst.

        • Ray in VT

          Isn’t what ends up on TV as entertainment just the market providing what customers want?  Sex and violence sells.  Just look at all of the “police procedurals” out there.  Rooms and rooms full of writers dreaming up ever more complex and convoluted ways from one character to bump off another.  There isn’t much in prime time that I would let my kids watch, even if they were up past 8:00.

          I am continually amazed at the dual standards for sex and violence.  On the one hand, there are all of cop shows, most of which seem to go into the gory details of the cadaver, but about a decade ago the networks edited a rerun of Star Trek: Enterprise in order to crop out the very top of a female characters butt crack.  It seemed pretty ridiculous to me.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

            Sports, sex & violence are ballyhooed by the media with such over-the-top velocity, now, that I simply do not watch any of it nor would I advise kids, elders or the culturally “sensitive” to watch mainstream American TV. It’s just loud, chaotic, offensive & exploitive at the “best” of moments.     

          • Ray in VT

            There’s a fair amount on TV that I find interesting, and some of it is a bit racy.  Toady my 8 year old asked me why I like rude shows (I think that he was referring to Family Guy specifically).  It can be tough to find shows for him and his brother that aren’t cartoons.  There aren’t a lot of shows that aren’t cartoons that I’d let him watch, in part because if I doesn’t have some objectionable content, then, in my experience, it’s pretty awful.  I’m looking at you Marvin Marvin.  Maybe I’ll just let them watch ALF reruns.

          • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.bagg Chuck Bagg

              Everybody knows that sex is good and violence is bad, yet they are treated as equal by the entertainment industry and the censors. Future generations will be appalled that we allowed our kids to see every imaginable form of violence, yet shielded them from beautiful natural normal loving sex.
            If TV and movies showed more sex and less violence, we would have a much more peaceful, healthy, and happy country.

          • Gregg Smith

            I hear all of that but there is no longer a safe haven. Wholesomeness (for lack of a better word) sells too. Disney does OK. 

          • Ray in VT

            It certainly does have an audience, and that is why in my house we do seek out a lot of that content.  There is plenty of it out there to be had in many cable or satellite packages, and my wife and I watch our shows after the kids go to bed.  However, there is certainly plenty of content out there from the “good old days” that I would not want the kids to view.  My wife has an old VHS tape that her parents taped off of the Disney channel back in the 1980s, and they showed some pretty blatantly racist stuff in some of those old cartoons.  Parents just need to be aware of what’s out there, be involved and don’t expect the TV to be a babysitter.  A guy that I used to work with talked to a lady who said that she let her 9 year old watch Robot Chicken, and that is something that I would never allow my kids to watch, but it’s a great show.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            A big reason Disney does okay because they are all-encompassing. They have their own cruise lines and movie-studio-themeparks, fergawdsakes.

            And their market penetration in “wholesome” is practically unassailable. They are a Coke in the world of “no Pepsi”.

            Totally tangential: At least Disney’s been a platform for the master storytellers of Pixar.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

            If you didn’t like the Star Trek crop job, you certainly won’t like how Family Guy promos need to pixelate an animated one-year-old’s bottom.

            Animated one-year-old’s bottoms are the ruin of us all.

    • Steve_the_Repoman

      It is not new for pornagraphy and idolatry to walk hand in hand.

      In our house we turned it off.

      There were also opportunities to talk with our kids when we were not quick enough with the remote.

      • Tyranipocrit

         all you’v done is mystified somethign that they will not actively seek out–thrilled–and embracing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Workman/1019853235 William Workman

      Suzanne, I wasn’t quite as offended as you seem to be. But I do shake my head in wonderment at the notion that Beyonce has used her feminist girl power to break through some barrier and blaze a new trail. There is nothing breakthrough about a burlesque routine. In fact, we have a local burlesque company, and they don’t lip-sych.
      People used to get upset at the Dallas Cowgirls cheerleaders because they objectified women. I honestly can’t see the difference. 

  • 1Brett1

    Commercialism does pander to self-perceptions and weaknesses, and this form of media is used for selling ideas and populism as well as actual products. The Jeep and Dodge Ram Truck commercials were about as pandering as any ad media can get. The ads seemed to pander to marked divisions as well as any commercial Country song could hope to pander, i.e., “REAL” America vs. “the other” America, Christian vs. non-Christian, etc. 

  • strangerinastrangeland

    Tom: In your segment on Sports & Politics just before the noon hour today you asked your guest how national sports was having a positive effect on society. He replied that a purported greater openness toward LGBT concerns in professional sports was actually “benefiting the survival pf the species” (or in similar words). Setting aside the question of whether or not there actually IS a greater sensitivity to LGBT concerns in sports today, itself highly debatable, did you not think to ask a follow-up question as to HOW the movement to chase out of the public square any view that does not comport with the celebration of LGBT behavior is in fact benefiting the survival of the species. After all, the behavior being celebrated does not result in human reproduction. Thus I ask, as you should have, how does it benefit our survival? When such hyperbolic bombastic gasbag emissions as that goes unanswered even the casual listener has to wonder what kind of a show you are hosting. 

    • http://www.marlamiller.com marketingthemuse

      The point here is that they’ve NEVER had a voice while you’ve enjoyed hearing the echoes of your opinions spoken by pundits & fans since organized sports began—It’s their turn now–you’ve had yours. Time to move over & make room for diversity. I’m the mother of elite athletes and write about youth sports. I also penned the only biography of the iconic women’s national soccer team that was published by Simon & Schuster so I’ve been hanging around athletes for decades.  It’s time to expand the profile because there are LOTS of young gifted athletes who have what it takes to succeed on and off the field. It’s time to show them some respect, too. 
      Love your program Tom-thank you.

    • J__o__h__n

      What a shame Jimmy the Greek can’t share his views on race any more.

    • 1Brett1

      Of course, a group’s positive effect on society is measured purely by its ability to procreate…damn those children’s organizations that protect their rights and well being; damn them all to hell!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Workman/1019853235 William Workman

        I don’t think the comment was “benefitting society,” I think it was “benefitting the survival of the species.” However you feel about that, the poster is right–it was a statement begging for a follow-up question.

        • 1Brett1

          Of course, if one wishes to distill down a “benefit to the survival of the species” (or however ill-stated the guest made that sound) to purely whether or not there is an ability of a particular group to procreate, then…

          But, make no mistake, ostensibly, “strangerinastrangeland” was going for more of a point than just an important follow-up question wasn’t asked.

  • JohnGraff

    Panem et circenses.

  • 1Brett1

    George Carlin on Baseball vs. Football

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmXacL0Uny0

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.bagg Chuck Bagg

    Sports has replaced religion as the “opiate of the people”. Millions of people are obsessed with sports and totally ignore politics all year long, and yet they still go out and vote, without a clue what the real issues are. If Elections were held on Superbowl Sunday and the polls were only open during the game, we would have a very different — and a much better — government.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.bagg Chuck Bagg

     
    Sports has replaced religion as the “opiate of the people”. Millions of people are obsessed with sports and totally ignore politics all year long, and yet they still go out and vote, without a clue what the real issues are. If Elections were held on Superbowl Sunday and the polls were only open during the game, we would have a very different — and a much better — government.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Workman/1019853235 William Workman

      Wow. Way to support your democracy. If someone had posted that we should hold elections on Cinco de Mayo while all the Hispanics were distracted, what would you say? Or how about having a three-hour window when you could either vote or cash your welfare check?

  • Tyranipocrit

    If we’re a nation oprah then how come corporatinos have more rights than we do as human beings and citizins?  How com corporations run the State, and the governernment- at our expense?  How come veterasns fight for corporate bottom lines–not people  or defense?  how come banks get bailed out and the people get austerity measure, structural adjustment–less pay, less benefits, third world wages, box store monopolies controlling supply chains and production reducing us all to cogs in a wheel.  How fortunate for you oprah to be mouthpiece of the corporate state and live in the lap of luxury–facilitating the lie, perpetuating it rather than challanging it.  Your commerical is disgusting not just for its ridiculous message, but it was the worst writing and delivery i ever heard–not that anyone else could deliver such a stupid porrly written message.  Have american brains gotton so mindwiped and spongy that such  a commercial has influence.  Really?  come on–couldnt come up with somethingin more creative or sphisticated then this?  who works in marketinng these days–14 year olds raised on power puff girls. 

    what does fighting in coporate wars against humanity have to do with our soveignty or nationhood or freedom Ophrah–please let me know.  What is freedom?–the freedom to work fro wages the freedom to sustain the 1% as your feudal master?   Your wars serve to disable what little democracy we have–building a security/police state where multinational corporations have the right to sue our governments or people for being democratic, for begging fo clean air and water or real food–we ge tsued, we pay for it–these companies have the right to sue us if we try and prevent them from increasing profits at our expense.  We ar enot permitted to stop them from devouring our resources, invading our forests and rivers and lakes and leaving them seethign with poisonoius crap.  Why do we allow our wealth to be extracted from our communities.  Oprah with all that money why dont you do soemthign for your country, your people–instead of cheerleading for the corporate state. 

    • Steve_the_Repoman

      I too can be disillusioned and angry….

          -what motivates you to seek hope for yourself
           and to instill it in others?
          -how do you maintain optimism when the results you
           long for are not yet visible on the horizon?
          -how do you care for those around you, with the
           resources you have?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1016400192 Mufassa Longfellow

      ^ the quintessential Marxist rant that no one reads…

      • Tyranipocrit

        sorry for you and them–quintessential  brain death

        why do you in things on people becuase they question or partiipate in society–why do they have to be a “marxist” a dn why is that a bad thing?  have you ever read marx?  I dint think so–just regurgitating talkin points youve ben conditioned to worship–with such a beutifully evolve dmind why do you wast eit making such comments and ignoring and denying multiple points of view?

        Im pretty sure people read my comments–i get more likes then many. But wait, you read it…so i can only presume your comment is sarcasm serving only to advertize my comment–bad publicity is good publicity. 

  • Tyranipocrit

    Nobody can quit anything just because theywant to–were all slaves to the bottom line–we have to buy into the system if we want to put food on the table–or we could revolt!  Thus football–control the mob, control the state–gladiator is exactly what i was thinking about–bring the war home to the people, to the arena and they will cry for blood, for death and love the state for it–its a distraction–dont pay attention to the men behind the curtain forging a trans pacifiv trade aggrement that will finnaly once and for all wip away any last remnant s as you soveign rights as citizins and human beings in the world–bow to your masters!  America of the dead.

  • Tyranipocrit

    nothing they’re saying is political–nothing is really controversial–its all accepted by the state–nothing that interferes with the power establishment of the 1%.  say something that matters–speak out at the bowl about the trans pacific trade agreement, the evil of the patriot act or corporate rights–speak out for the environment.
    Fo christ paul hrvey cant we keep god out of anythinig in this theistic mirror image of iran?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/William-Workman/1019853235 William Workman

    Tom has had some terrific guests on this program, but Dave Zirin wasn’t one of them. He’s a typical left-wing gasbag who parades his personal opinions around as national trends and seems unaware of the many contradictions in his viewpoints.
    He defines football as a violent gladiatorial contest, but when a caller asks if the hero-gladiators bear any responsibility for a culture of violence he dismisses the idea.
    He claims poor kids have no other career options, as though their only career choices were welfare or $1 million per game. He says the athletes could not have understood the risks of head injury 20 years ago because the neuroscience didn’t exist, but the NFL should have known. Just empty corporation bashing.
    He claims, without explanation, a dark connection between sports and the military. I guess if it involves evil corps and the evil military, what else could it be?
    He sees, with scant evidence, professional sports finally giving a voice to LGBT issues, as though they aren’t talked to death in every other venue. Only NPR could force the subject of LGBT into the Superbowl.
    Most cynical is his take on the appearance of the Sandy Hook choir and Jennifer Hudson. Most of us saw a politically neutral (if politically charged) expression of human resilience in the face of grief. Not Zirin. He sees a statement that he expects made the NRA squirm, for which he takes childish delight–as though, in this critical national debate, we should settle for getting cheap shots at our opponents.
    This guest should have been vetted more carefully. We don’t need to hear from any more muddled partisan thinkers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1016400192 Mufassa Longfellow

    Tom, do you really think professional sports should be counted as a legitimate and viable way to escape living in abject poverty? That’s 0.01% of people living at or bellow the poverty line in the “inner city.” The thought that pro-athletes are somehow trapped in their careers because there’s not enough opportunities for success is 1. ridiculous and 2. even if true, is still in no way comparable to gladiatorial slavery.

    This stupid defense of an even stupider analogy is something that you’ll only hear from well-meaning, but painfully uniformed white people. lol

    Heaven forbid NFL players have to actually work their way out of poverty or die trying like the rest of us. #4:13timestamp

ONPOINT
TODAY
Apr 23, 2014
In this Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012, file photo, Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, Inc., shows a tablet displaying his company's technology, in New York. Aereo is one of several startups created to deliver traditional media over the Internet without licensing agreements. (AP)

The Supreme Court looks at Aereo, the little startup that could cut your cable cord and up-end TV as we’ve known it. We look at the battle. Plus: a state ban on affirmative action in college admissions is upheld. We’ll examine the implications.

Apr 23, 2014
Attendees of the 2013 Argentina International Coaching Federation meet for networking and coaching training. (ICF)

The booming business of life coaches. Everybody seems to have one these days. Therapists are feeling the pinch. We look at the life coach craze.

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Apr 22, 2014
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As a new Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives at the Smithsonian, we’ll look at its home – pre-historic Montana – and the age when dinosaurs ruled the Earth.

 
Apr 22, 2014
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We look at Iraq now, two years after Americans boots marched out. New elections next week, and the country on the verge of all-out civil war.

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