Sports play a unique role in society. They unite and define us. From the original Olympics until today, they provides a unique platform to display true nobility and honor that can inspire large numbers of people.
Traditional warfare with clear cut moral objectives has vanished. The U.S. has often found itself fighting against dictators whom we trained or put into power: Panama, Iraq, Grenada. American armed forces often face weapons that the U.S. arms industry – the world’s largest – developed and sold.
So disproportionate weight has fallen on sports heroes.
It’s been interesting to watch the fall out from the Lance Armstrong confession. I’m appalled by his defenders, some of whom remain undaunted. Is there anything more morally bankrupt than the everyone else did it argument?
And Barry Bonds was a fantastic player, but like Pete Rose, he has, at least to my mind, forfeited his chance at the Hall of Fame.
Te’o’s sad little hoax isn’t as meaningful as the organized, systemic corruption involved with doping.
What’s truly troubling is the idea that people cannot be stopped from cheating. And the frequent corollary, since it’s impossible, it’s not worth trying.
Endemic cheating in academia, Corrupt business practices. It’s not that these things haven’t been tried before, cf. Sinclair Lewis. What’s new is the idea that doing the right thing is not only unachievable, but uninteresting unless it’s in the context of voluntarism.
With Abu Gharib and rendition, we’ve forever tarnished not only the U.S. image in the world, but seared our souls.
This informs every aspect of our civic and personal lives. It’s more relevant than the debt ceiling and more powerful than gridlock.
Our nation’s parents seem as if they are incapable of disciplining children. This has given way to a milieu where people not only lack discipline but don’t see the need for it.
If we can fix things in the context of sports, maybe it would catch on.
Honor, nobility, integrity.