Saturday, December 17, 2011
The Corruption of Corporate Sports
In November we took a look at "Why Martial Culture is not "Jock Culture", touching on the Penn State rape case and sports riots reflecting the hive mentality of the cult that is high-dollar sports.
In a brilliant follow-up on "AlterNet", Lynn Parramore writes "When Cults Collide: How Big Sports and CEO Worship Threaten Societies". Here are a few excerpts:
The Church of Football
"Big Sports in America, along with the corporate religion of CEO-worship that infuses it, exhibits cult-like features that make the tolerance of criminal activity something we should expect. When cults collide, conditions emerge that are poisonous to healthy, law-abiding, open societies."
"In his essay “The Sporting Spirit,” George Orwell outed the cult-like aspect of large-scale sports, which arose in the 19th century in England and the U.S. in a way the world had not seen since Roman times. He debunked the myth that serious sports was nothing more than good clean fun. Sure, it’s possible to play harmless games, but when losing means shame for the whole group, barbaric instincts surface. The competition takes on the character of warfare, where winning is the virtue, and getting in the way of winning is the vice. Intense rivalries beget a culture of cheating. Serious sports aren’t about fair play, concludes Orwell, but rather “hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.”
Along with the rise of nationalism, big time sports grew as heavily financed activities that could draw huge crowds and inspire extreme loyalty. People learned to identify with larger power units and to view everything in terms of competitive clout. Organized games flourished in urban communities where workers lived sedentary and confined lives without much chance of creativity or physical release. Cursing the other team on game day was an outlet for pent-up sadistic impulses."
"College sports mega-programs, like football and basketball, are not built to nurture good and useful citizens, but to produce athletes who can draw in money through ticket sales or athletic boosters. Many of the values that make people good citizens, like sympathy and mutual support, are antithetical to the goals of sports teams. Programs receive millions of dollars of public funds, very often at the expense of education. The norms and values of the cult and those that make for a healthy society diverge.
Cults share several tell-tale characteristics, such as ritualistic activities, active recruiting, promises of reward or fame for converts, expectations of sacrifice for the group, and threats of humiliation and punishment for lack of compliance. And they always have charismatic, authoritarian leaders."
Parramore draws an apt comparison to elite CEO culture in American corporations, University Presidents and the obscene corruption found in both venues.
You can read more at this link