Wealthy Owners Versus Wealthy Athletes...The Nation Loses Again

We are currently witnessing another tantrum consisting of the very wealthy men who play children's games versus the even wealthier men who own them and their otherwise useless talents. I'm speaking about the National Basketball Association's lockout of its players. This silly situation has now resulted in the cancellation of a good portion of the scheduled games for this year. Want to know a secret? As much as I enjoy watching the games, I couldn't care less if they ever settle their petty little differences and return to the court (the hardwood one, not the malignant one with lawyers and the rest).

As I have often wondered in these pages, why does America see no insanity in "athletes" being given tens of millions of dollars a year in exchange for dribbling a inflated brown, dimpled ball around and eventually throwing it into the air in hopes of it going through a round metal hoop. The same question, of course, applies to someone who stands in a grassy field, waiting for a small white ball to be hit in their general direction a couple of times every hour or who can hit that same white ball only once or twice out of ten times and still be considered some sort of a special person worth tens of millions of dollars. Again, the same goes for adults skating around on well maintained ice rinks (but acting like criminal thugs to one another) or smacking an even smaller little white ball around out in the sunshine on well manicured lawns called fairways and greens.

This insane form of childish capitalism is only matched by the outright and offensive greed displayed by the owners of these corporations (but thinly disguised as "teams") who try to hold entire cities of taxpayers hostage by threatening to move their businesses elsewhere unless the citizens pay for the building and furnishing and maintenance of multi-million dollar sports arenas. These same criminals then demand all profits from these taxpayer funded buildings be handed over to them. This theft continues until some other city full of idiots offers him (or, in the case of the LA Rams, her) even more money to move, anyway. This leaves the original victims of the owner's awesome greed holding millions of dollars in bonds and owing tax responsibilities into the next generation and who eventually prostitute themselves to the NBA or the NFL or whoever in hopes of luring the next set of greedy criminals to their town.

How can anyone support this nasty little form of blackmail and greed in any form yet complain about the cost of educating our children or providing protection from crime or fires or to assure that we and our children have clean air and water and food that is healthy and pure? How can anyone happily give large portions of their paycheck to the owners of teams of men (and now women) playing school yard games but bitch and whine and moan when the government asks for two tenths of one percent of their earnings to provide for the well being of the poorest and weakest among us? Where is the howl of anger from those same haters of the government when they see the elderly and the women and, saddest of all, the children forced to live in the alleys and on the sidewalks of our nation? Where, oh where, is the shout of disbelief when those who loudly proclaim abortion to be murder of the unborn but who happily kill the doctors who legally provide that service? And why is there such glee in watching the morally cleansed wars on CNN while advocating the wholesale slaughter of innocent women and children over who owns the right to remove oil from the ground and to acquire the massive profits that entails?

Gentle readers, as long as we, as a nation, allow the vermin among us to frame the nation's debate over what we find morally and spiritually important then we have no one but ourselves to blame for the depths that we are sinking into. We must, and I stress must, begin the long and slow process of redirecting our national energies toward helping our fellow men, women and children to live happy and meaningful lives and cease acting like the drooling, trained lap dog of the wealthy that is our current state of mind.

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Copyright 12/10/98