Football. The great sport of socialism.
Let’s ignore for the moment that football is rank barbarism, outdone only by the true viciousness of boxing and the UFC, that plays to the absolute worst within the human soul. Let’s ignore that most football players should be behind bars not worshiped as icons (even forgetting the massive list of assaults, attempted murder and various other felonies…and just focusing on the fact that they let a man who gets his jollies by torturing dogs play this sport! And the rest of the league didn’t walk in disgust stating they would not play with such a disgusting sociopath! That should tell you the ethical quality of football players. I wonder if a child rapist could play if he could throw the ball the entire length of the field?) Ignore the fact that the majority of these players have an IQ that makes most rocks look like rocket scientist and thus should be the last people we have society look up to. Ignore the fact that that I would say it’s a safe bet that 90% of them are on steroids. Ignore all of that. I hate football because no sport so represents the ideals of socialism more and no sport steals my hard earned money to glorify its crude barbarism more than football. Yes this is a capitalistic problem with football, not just a snob’s problem with it.
(I’m going to make some comparisons to other sports in here which I believe to be correct, but if not, please inform me and I will make corrections. I watch only baseball games when sitting in the stadium and the Olympics on TV, so sports really isn’t my best subject).
How does football resemble socialism? First, almost every team sport does its obsession of working together over individual performance (some more than others, football being the sport where the individual can have the least effect…on the other end of the spectrum you have baseball where every single pitch comes down to a battle between two individuals). But more so than just the nature of team sports let’s look at the professional level sport. Football makes a lot of money from TV revenue…which it then pays in EQUAL shares to all of the teams. Doesn’t matter which team draws in more viewers, doesn’t matter which team invested more into the stadium or the players…everyone takes an equal cut. From each according to his ability to each according to his need. Everyone benefits from the Super Bowl, whether they made it there or not. How socialistic (I have no idea how other sports handle TV proceeds, but even if they’re all doing this it’s quite socialistic in its nature). Oh, and the best team gets last pick in the draft. That’s right you’re punished for being good. Oh and there’s salary caps which means you can’t pay people what you would pay them if you could (I think all football players are overpaid, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support their right to make as much money as possible if someone is willing to pay for it). Doesn’t sound like capitalism to me.
But these are private corporations and they have the right to run their organizations however they see fit. Let’s talk about where their socialist values begin to hurt me and you.
Oh and dare we forget that most of those stadiums were built with city bonds, or city exemptions to this or that or all taxes, or various other forms of corporate welfare. The idea is that the city will make back its money from tax revenue of increased ticket sales, increase restaurant use around the stadium and increased tourism. This is never the case. Even if they were getting close to even breaking even, most cities then have to deal with threats by team owners to move if they aren’t offered a new set of tax breaks and incentives. Pure corporate welfare. And nothing but that. And as you know I blame corporate welfare as one of the main causes for making our economic system unstable. This is city tax money being wasted to subsidize multi-million dollars businesses. My tax payer money. Your tax payer money. If you like the sport so much, pay for it in increased ticket prices. But don’t demand I subsidize your entertainment. I would love to see more Shakespeare plays put on, but I will never ask that your tax payer dollars go to support my preference; any good capitalist should understand the reverse is true. And any good socialist can go to hell.
But on this point football isn’t that different from other sports (may their unethical un-capitalistic owners all burn in hell). So I know I still haven’t proven that football is more socialistic than any other sport.
So let’s go down a level from the professional level. Even if cities, states, and the federal government banned corporate welfare in all forms (which they should all do) football would still be socialistically sucking off the teat of the taxpayer. Why do I say this? Well there’s the college level. Just about every single state funded university in the contiguous United States has a football team. And as economist Thomas Sowell points out in his book “Economic Facts and Fallacies” just about every college in America is running its sports program in the red. As the biggest sports at any college are football and basketball, that pretty much means that these sports (with their million dollar coaches, and hundred thousand dollar scouts, and thousand dollar scholarships, and bonuses on the side) are costing colleges more money than they take in. Most state universities run more off of state (i.e. taxpayer) funds than they do off of real tuition. Well why not increase ticket prices. Maybe because they know if they make any more increases in prices then ticket sales will drop incredibly and they’ll make even less, and lowering the price won’t help ticket sales enough either. They’re already at optimum pricing; if they make any change in pricing they lose even more money. But that means that football and basketball at the college level are failing businesses. They don’t provide profits to the college, they provide a loss. But the argument goes, having sports brings in more donations from alumni! Really? What do most of those donations go to? Sports. So that means that these are losing money even when they’re being subsidized by donation. Sounds like a great business model. But let’s say that the other donations that come in make up the difference and the college doesn’t come out behind. First I would say that people who are going to donate for a library or a new science wing might have donated whether you have a football team or not. Second I would say, colleges need less donations anyway, as most of that money is now going to subsidize professors doing research (often in the liberal arts…I love Shakespeare, but really how many articles on him do we need?) and not teaching! Perhaps if colleges were not getting so much free cash they would cut T.A’s and make the professors actually teach their own classes. I can’t see how this would be bad for the students, actually being taught by people who know more. Further this might mean that fewer jocks were skated through classes (don’t even try to feign outrage, you know it happens) which devalues the degree of everyone who earned their education. There are only a few colleges to point to, but every college I know of that has dropped its football program has been able to drastically increase its endowment and the quality of its teaching….granted I’m working off a very small sample but just the suggestion of that fact implies we should at least try it on a larger scale. If dropping football leads to better education, then don’t we own this country a better educated populace?
Further keep in mind that it’s your tax payer dollars that go to subsidize this loosing investment in schools. So the city is subsiding this sport, as well as the state through the college. Are you beginning to wonder if this is this is a business model worth keeping? Or maybe that it exists only through government handouts.
But the socialism doesn’t end there!
You probably forgot about high schools. High schools which will cut teachers, books, fine arts, new facilities, pay raises to attract better educators (but sadly never the pay of school superintendents and principles, i.e. the most useless people on any school campus) before they cut football. At a high school level basketball doesn’t take much funding for up keep (you already need a gymnasium, which often doubles as your auditorium anyway) so you were already going to spend that money. But football is different. Football takes money for equipment (which brings to mind a quote from one of my favorite author’s “I just think it’s rather odd that a nation that prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby.” And he’s right, rugby at least has the decency to admit its barbarity.), equipment which could fund a whole new set of microscopes for a biology class, a new set of books for an English class, possibly enough to pay a teacher to take on an extra period and actually teach more (I know it’s a radical thought that schools might be there to teach!). More skating of students (I personally have had it suggested to me that I shouldn’t flunk a football player…I did it anyway and the coward didn’t have the guts to do anything about it at the time, but the fact is that football players are skated through school to this day). Oh and let’s talk about the cost of football fields. They’re expensive. And they often have to be done every couple of years. (But the idiocy of most boards will say, we can’t do Astroturf it’s too expensive…to hell if the cost of redoing the field even twice out does the cost of Astroturf, thinking that far out would force school boards to think past the next election, which is utterly impossible for skilled politicians in Congress, you have no hope with the idiots who get on schools boards…especially since the teacher’s unions spend millions nationwide to prevent intelligent people from getting on school boards.) And those stadiums are also expensive to build and maintain…and they almost never make their money back. That’s all money coming out of your pocket again as a tax payer!
As a tax payer you pay for the local high school’s football program, the college football program, and the professional league. And if you actually like the sport you pay even more for the cable station and the stadium tickets. But for those of us who hate the sport, we still get to pay for it! Don’t tell me this isn’t socialist.
In 2010, 106 million people watched the Super Bowl! That’s the highest rated number of viewers ever. Let’s say that there was another 40 million football fans who didn’t watch because their team wasn’t playing (which is stupid because people who don’t regularly watch football watch the Super Bowl, but I’ll give you 40 million). That’s a 146 million football fans. There are 312 million people in the country currently (half of 312 is 156) so not even half of the country watches football. So the majority of taxpayers are subsidizing the entertainment of the minority. Have you ever been upset hearing that your taxpayer money is going to pay for sacrilegious images of the Virgin Mary covered in dung, or for useless modern art paintings of a giant dot on canvas, or for PBS and NPR? Or do you get upset at how many tax breaks Hollywood gets for producing movies that I am hesitant to call dung, because I could use dung as a fuel source or as fertilizer…I’m not quite sure that half of what Hollywood puts out is even as useful as that! How is that different from funding rank barbarism? Some people find that worthless modern art shit entertaining, some people find football entertaining. The government shouldn’t be paying for a dime either way.
I am willing to pay more for movies that are good because I love movies and I believe not a cent of tax payer money should go to this kind of corporate welfare. (And I would even pay more for a baseball ticket, because I think the first thing the MLB would do if it no longer had subsidies would be to fire all its current players and bring up the minors which would actually lead to more class and grace in the game and less vain showmanship). Are you willing to pay more for your football ticket? And if not will you continue to demand I pay so that you can be entertained? If so, how can you say that is anything but socialism?
Occasionally someone will try and bring up the idea that football is the only thing keeping these kids in school. Huh? If that’s all that’s keeping them in school, trust me they’re not really learning in their classes (remember all the skating I referenced) and they certainly aren’t conducive to a healthy learning environment for other students who may actually give a rat’s ass about education.
And don’t even try and bring up the idea of the scholar-athlete to me. There are scholar-athletes…but less than one in a thousand of them are football players.
I would have no problem if all levels of football paid for themselves. I still wouldn’t watch it, but I wouldn’t be as viscerally opposed to it as I am now. (Hell I might not even have a problem if the subsidies for high school and college were put up for public referendum and passed by a healthy margin). Right now it’s a socialist sink hole stealing money from me. If you want football, then you pay for it. I won’t ask you to pay for my snobby operas and plays (and any tax payer money that is going to that should be cut) and I would appreciate if you not rob from me to pay for your entertainment.
But the question is if professional football had to pay for itself, if college football had to pay for itself (and that includes paying for its own scholarships through ticket sales and donations), and if high school football programs had to pay for themselves (especially when there are far, far fewer football scholarships available, thus lowering the demand for high school football, thus lowering the pool from which the professionals can draw from), do you really think that this sport could survive? I don’t think it could. And if that thought disgusts you, remember you should be a capitalist and demand that only businesses that can support themselves through their own means…or do you still demand I support your entertainment through my taxes?
If you are a capitalist, which is likely if you read this blog, then you understand to have any integrity you must stand on principle and oppose these government subsidies at all levels, even if you love the sport, it has no business taking tax payer money to support itself.
Now I will admit that this is partly informed by personal bias. Some of the most disgusting and most unethical people I have known as a teacher were also the biggest supporters of those school football programs, and I can’t deny that I see a correlation between these two. But still before you bring my personal bias into this, can you deny that modern football exists in great degree due to its socialistic subsidizing by the government.
And one final question. The government seems hell-bent on supporting football (it’s doing it at three different levels!) one has to ask why? Is it just that most communities think football is so important….or it is because government understands, as the Caesars did, that if you give the people their bread and circuses they won’t pay as much attention to evils committed by the government. Just a thought.