Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Modest Proposal to Deal with Politics at Sports Events

Despite the obvious effect of their injecting unwanted politics into their football games, most NFL players and their team owners are ignoring their declining audiences and insisting on their "right" to show in public their collective disrespect for the country that has made them wealthy beyond childhood dreams.

I have no problem with their saying or doing anything they wish in private. But when they force a (temporarily) captive audience, who just came to see a game, to witness how dissatisfied these football elite are with some unarticulated aspect of America while everyone else stands for the national anthem, then enough. If they don't respect the anthem, they don't respect the flag, or the country for which both stand. So why subject them to an unwanted performance at the start of each of their games?

Let's see how they would like some politics injected into their livelihood.

The national anthem, whose words by Francis Scott Key were set so long ago to a tune most people cannot sing well (or sing at all), but which is glorious when properly performed, is by now the property of the people of the United States. Congress, acting on their behalf, ought to license its performance at sporting events. The license would be automatic and free of charge to any event put on by teams and players who have no trouble standing during its performance.

But the license should be denied to those who cannot show the minimal respect which every average citizen has no trouble giving: standing silently while it is performed, and then cheering afterward. Each NFL team should be informed that it no longer has the right to perform the anthem at any of its games until its members are ready to grant it the minimum degree of respect which Americans accord to it.

Should any such team go ahead with the anthem's performance, just so they can continue to display their disrespect, then an automatic licensing fee should be imposed without further ado, equal (for the first offense) to $10 per person attending, and accelerating for each subsequent license violation to $100 per person. Indeed -- let the fee keep going up until the price for showing disrespect becomes too high for the team and its owners to pay.

Further, any team that does not have a license to have the anthem performed at its events, but aspires to qualify for such a license eventually, will have to show that it gave a public announcement before the start of each of its unlicensed events to this effect: "The [name of team having the home stadium] announce that they do not yet care to show respect for the national anthem, and so by law are not licensed to perform the anthem at any of their games. Accordingly, there will be no performance of the anthem at this event. Anyone who wishes a refund of the price for their ticket should leave now and collect their money at the box office."

The team should also be prepared to show that it gave a similar notice to every person purchasing a ticket for the event, and promptly refunded the ticket price to any holder who asked for it before the game started.

Finally, Congress should pass a law making the price of any ticket to a licensed sporting event (up to a maximum of 24 such events per year) tax-deductible, but denying any such deduction for tickets to unlicensed events. Later on, if more pressure is needed, Congress could impose a tax, say, of 20% on the price of a ticket to an unlicensed event.

And that is how you play politics with sports events.


  1. It's a nice idea, but we already have way too much federal interference in ordinary events.

    The NFL is busily destroying its game and its market. We won't have to worry about this for many more years. When my Green Bay fanatic husband snapped off the TV yesterday shouting, "I've HAD IT with the NFL!" I knew they are in big trouble.

    1. I guess you are right, Katherine -- this article shows how the NFL stadiums are struggling for paid attendees. In any event, I am glad to see customers voting with their pocketbooks.

  2. Our Rabbi is correct and logical. But, in a very, very rare splitting off of agreement with him, I must cast my vote with Katherine. American football, like international futbol-soccer…is rotting from the inside out.

    Homemade teams, formed up from scubs and bench warmers, such as the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s create great inspiration. Minor league baseball is played, successfully and profitably in over 200 venues in the United States. In Mexico, they have a national league and season…but they also have Winter League with regional leagues, and the stands are usually more or less populated from 30 to 100 per cent of the seats. That is for the standard "Mexican Major League" down to where Fernando Valenzuela started in Guamuchil, Sinaloa.

    It is not my intention to serve as an extreme moderate in this matter. We are at least three who have very, very similar ideas about the sense of the problem, and somewhat different notions about how to extract ourselves from what we, ourselves, have established.
    My opinion is that Soccer and American Football are both Dead Man Walking. Within 100 years…they will both be gone. The Mundial and the lunacy associated with Futbol-soccer because of the totally corrupt nature of the administration of everything from the minor league teams in Mexico, Italy, Chile, etc.etc.etc. to Real Madrid and Manchester United and down.
    American Football, while still grudgingly popular…is rusting out from the inside, and from the outside it is corrupting itself because of the amount of money that is paid out to people who really cannot weld copper to steel, or replace an aortic connection to the heart muscle in 180 seconds, or weld a leaking oil pipe at 250 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico…

    All the Michael Jordans and the endorsements in the world really do not amount to much, beyond feeding into the temporal classes of people who see no future beyond the impression of the girls at the mall…wowed!! by the new NIKE 500 dollar tennis shoes…probably bought by someone who has an illegal drug dealer in the family.
    Rich people cannot afford such luxuries, is the joke in Texas.

    Mrs. Katherine points out that her husband groused about the Green Bay game, and declaring, "I've HAD IT with the NFL." There was no more loyal Cowboy fan than your humble servant. I have watched perhaps 7 minutes of major league American Football, and about the same amount of collegiate football during the past two years.
    It is truly plantation football…except the slaves on the plantation are actually the egos of the team owners and the Television lampreys and other blood-suckers who think the dolts in NoWhere, America (between the two coasts) will always stumble into the living room at game-time, channel selector in hand.

    The fact is, and as you all know, we have a place in NoWhere, Mexico where people arrive to be bored, watch birds, drink beer and margaritas, and read their Agatha Christi books, while relaxing in one of our huge hand-made and thatch woven rocking chairs (mesadoras).
    These people, as I, when we have a parade for some event or another will rise for the Mexican National Anthem and / or when religious groups, in parade, are following this or that saint's image, simply out of respect and because it is just the right thing to do.

    Please pardon my bluntness…I mostly concur and agree with both of you….It is part of the pain of being too indecisive, and too decisive.

    El Gringo Viejo

    1. El Gringo, you needn't worry -- your character alone has established for you a permanent place in the comments on this blog. We all trust you to stay in character -- even if some of us might have slight differences. And I look forward to the day when my wife and I could join you at your retreat.

    2. Estimado Amigo, Sr. Haley,
      You and your cadre are my rudder and mizzenmast during these times. Various and sundry distractions down at our place and this or that problem up here in Texas have kept me away from my appointed rounds. We have actually had a nice spate of business…right at the time of peak activity and numbers of species of birds. Most of the clients were out to visit relatives in the area while others just wanted to be bored and enjoy the scenery and the incredible star displays in the depths of the night. They said good things about my cooking…
      Your suggestion about charges and conditions makes sense to me…but perhaps I am turning into an extreme moderate and a compulsive reasonable compromiser…because Katherine does strike a chord in terms of the Central Government meddling in how long a toothbrush handle must be, or how many pages there can be in a book.

      It is always a pleasure to hide here and read, as usual, each submission and response three times so as to begin to understand. May the Good Lord remain with you and yours, and also bless your flock.

      El Gringo Viejo