Tricia Jenkins, an assistant professor of film, television, and digital media at Texas Christian University, has a problem with displays of patriotism at sporting events. And as such, Jenkins also takes issue with military displays and the recognition of veterans at such events as well.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post last week, titled When we cheer for our team, do we have to cheer for America, too?, Jenkins not only detests that patriotism has seeped into our sporting events, but then goes on to glorify those athletes that have disrespected the American flag over the years.
The customary flyover by fighter jets may be absent from this weekend’s Super Bowl; after all, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans is covered. But a military color guard will be on the field during the pregame ceremonies. CBS will cut to shots of troops watching the game overseas. Veterans will be recognized on the stadium’s video boards. And flag imagery will abound, as will stirring renditions of the national anthem and, most likely, “America the Beautiful.”
Sports games — some of the only events that lead Americans to set their differences aside and sit down and watch together — have become stages for large-scale patriotic theater. This is no accident; many of the militaristic rituals we see in stadiums and arenas across the country were deliberately designed to promote unity during times of crisis. But they’ve stuck around far longer than needed, making sports feel less like pastimes than pep rallies for our military or a particular war…
… The militarism of our sporting events is particularly jarring given American ambivalence about the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a 2010 poll, 59 percent of Americans said the war in Iraq was a mistake, and 72 percent said it was not worth the costs. In May 2012, a poll showed that support for the war in Afghanistan had dropped to a new low: Only 27 percent of Americans said they backed the conflict, and 66 percent said they opposed it.
Sports fans who don’t support these wars may still applaud our returning veterans at games, of course. Some may be able to separate their support for our troops from their opposition to specific conflicts. Others may be intimidated by those around them, pressured into playing along.
Eliminating patriotism from sporting events… how progressive.
The heartwarming feel-good sports story of the past couple of decades closes on a rather depressing note today.
Lance Armstrong has abandoned the fight against doping charges during his incredible cycling career between 1999-2005.
The man who overcame life-threatening testicular cancer to do the unthinkable, winning seven straight Tours de France, will be stripped of his titles and banned from the sport of cycling for life.
U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart says the agency will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.
Armstrong on Thursday night dropped any further challenges to USADA’s allegations that he took performance-enhancing drugs to win cycling’s premier event from 1999-2005.
Armstrong says USADA doesn’t have the authority to vacate his Tour titles. However, Tygart told The Associated Press that USADA can do it.
Armstrong will continue to say that this is not an admission of guilt, but rather a desire to avoid an arbitration process he deems unfair. But the evidence suggests otherwise.
The 40-year-old Armstrong walked away from the sport in 2011 without being charged after a two-year federal criminal investigation into many of the same accusations he faces from USADA. The federal probe was closed in February, but USADA announced in June it had evidence Armstrong used banned substances and methods — and encouraged their use by teammates. The agency also said it had blood tests from 2009 and 2010 that were “fully consistent” with blood doping.
“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes,” Tygart said. “It’s a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There’s no success in cheating to win.”
It is indeed a sad day in sports, and yet another reminder that holding athletes up to heroic standards has its perils. Nobody – nobody can be assumed clean during the steroid era in sports.
It what may stand as the longest, rambling basketball analogy ever made by a politician, President Obama accused the Romney campaign of playing dirty yesterday.
You know, like that time they accused the President of allowing a man’s wife to get cancer and die? Or the time they accused Democrats of wanting dirtier air and water? Or how about that time they ran an ad showing the President throwing grandma and her wheelchair off the cliff? Oh wait, what?
“I can’t resist a basketball analogy,” Obama told the crowd, according to a White House pool report. “We are in the fourth quarter. We’re up by a few points but the other side is coming on strong and they play a little dirty.”
“We’ve got a few folks on our team in foul trouble. We’ve got a couple of injuries, and I believe that they’ve got one last run in them.”
“I’d say there’s about seven minutes to go in the game. And [Michael Jordan's] competitiveness is legendary, and nobody knows better than Michael that if you’ve got a little bit of a lead and there’s about seven minutes to go — that’s when you put them away.”
GOP chairman Ed Cox had a basketball analogy of his own for the President.
“While President Obama spends his day shooting hoops with Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Carmelo Anthony, his administration continues to throw bricks when it comes to job creation and economic growth.“
And in other heartbreaking sports-related news, despite the fact that the President’s sole success story during his reign is the fact that he has a laser-like focus on all things sports – i.e. 100+ rounds of golf, pickup basketball games and fundraiser, filling out college brackets – team owners in the four major sports have made a majority of their contributions to Republicans this cycle.
Overall, team owners for the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL have given $1,992,050 to 2012 national election efforts. Of the total, Republicans were the victors with nearly $1.25 million. Democrats received a little more than $750,000, the station said.
And that includes the NBA team from New York; Knicks owner James Dolan is a Romney donor.
Here’s another basketball analogy. Let’s hope that when November comes, the President has been ejected from the game for a flagrant technical foul on the economy and the American dream.
A producer at NBC recently decided to make a video called “Bodies in Motion”, showing off Olympic athlete’s bodies in various states of competition. Unfortunatley, the music production department chimed in, adding uber-creepy porn-like music to the clip.
Critics slammed the network for what seemed like the blatant sexualization of athletes competing for Olympic gold.
NBC promptly pulled the video, but left us wondering – What were they thinking?
Someone at NBC Apparently Approved This Creepy, Porny Video of Female Olympians.
Have you barfed yet today? Get thee to a drain of some kind before watching this video the pervs over at NBC have put together in order to show their appreciation for Olympic bodies of the 2012 London Games.
Unfortunately, to NBC, showcasing the “Bodies in Motion” of the XXX Olympiad means taking footage of conventionally attractive female athletes competing in sports that require them to be scantily clad, slowing it way down as the camera lovingly caresses their butts, breasts, and bouncing ponytails, and playing some soft core porn music over it.
A little Masters action for you this weekend, in case you missed it…
At the Monday practice round at Augusta National, Martin Kaymer — a German golfer ranked No. 6 in the World Golf Rankings — skipped his ball across the water and into the 16th hole at Augusta. He is the second golfer to tee off in this video.Naturally, the crowd goes completely crazy at his hole in one.While this shot may not help his ranking or gain him any points, it absolutely helps his Internet cred.
Here’s the video…
But can it really be considered ‘the most amazing hole-in-one ever’?
Vijay Singh might have something to say about that. Here he is on the same hole, during a practice round for the same tournament back in 2009.