This writer does love sports, especially football and baseball. I was raised as a baby boomer with literally a football, a bat and glove in my hands 24/7. The only time us kids tossed aside those items and scooted upstairs was when our Moms yelled out ‘ It’s Howdy Doody Time!’ Other than that, most of us were back on the sidewalks or street ( if older) playing as long as possible. By the way, The Howdy Doody Show was a kid’s show in the 50s aired live each afternoon right before dinner time. I was actually on the show once, sitting in ‘ The Peanut Gallery’ when the clown Clarabelle missed spraying Chief Thunderthud with seltzer and got this nice little girl a few feet from me. She cried right into and during the live commercial by host Buffalo Bob Smith. Funny, but not as humorous as what the indentured sports media has been doing to millions of us viewers day after damn day!
Here we are right smack dab inside of a horrific pandemic, going on one full year here in the USA. Of course, if asshole Trump would have taken it all more seriously, by now the worst would already be behind us. Meanwhile, check out what the ‘ Servants of Empire’ AKA’ Sports Journalists’ have been up to. We have tens of millions of viewers to these sports talk shows who have difficulty paying their mortgages or rents, many laid off or working short shifts. Yet, the assholes in front of our faces on the boob tube spend countless hours going over the salaries and salary negotiations of professional sports figures and teams. Meanwhile, as with the ‘ so called’ news media pundits, these sports ‘ Journalist’ characters are earning millions and mega millions each year. Not to name names but the signature hosts on Fox , ESPN and NBC and CBS sports shows are each earning well over $ 5 million dollars yearly. So, they have a lot in common, but of course not in the same earnings bracket, as the stars of the various professional sports. So, they can sit there and hash out how player X is signed for $140 million over three years and player Y wants a better deal from the $ 50 million per annum he is already making. And more of this ‘ Blah Blah Blah’ bullshit!
When this baby boomer was first introduced to radio sports talk shows like The Bill Mazer show in the 1960s, they covered things like strategy, player drafts or trades and never once dealt with salaries. We were all ‘ Students of the game’ as was Bill Mazer or Howard Cosell or the myriad of other sports journalists. It is all changed gang, and for the worst! This goes hand in hand with the costs of attending pro games. My dad , a longshoreman earning $8 grand a year, could still afford to take my brother and me to a 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers game, complete with parking, program , a few dogs and a soda. When I took my sons to a Mets game in 1981, that cost was over $ 200 for the occasion. Now, a good box seat must cost $200 by itself! Is it worth it? Oh yeah, if you are part of the 1 % of our populace. If not, well….
The real Skinny is how much money the owners of these teams and the media companies that televise their games are earning. If the owner can afford to pay one guy $50 million per annum, just one guy from a roster of 25 to 50, imagine how the money flows in. They got deals for licensed products, contracts from the media giants, ticket sales and other income from food, refreshments and programs. Of course, the media giants who pay them for the right to televise, they get their money from the corporations via advertisements and other charges. Who pays for all this? You and me. Nothing is free, especially our cable bills. Imagine the bullshit by this Two Party/One Party system years ago when the passed the Communications Act of 1996. Oh, it was going to make things better. Well, my cable television bill then was like $35 bucks for a great package. Now I fork out over $200 a month! Progress, right?
We need to see, since WE THE PEOPLE own the airwaves, community owned professional sports teams, community owned cable television ( NON PROFIT) and… drum roll please… a ceiling on income. How fortuitous would it be if no one earned over, let us say, $ 5 million per year? I don’t know about you readers, but my family and me could live very comfortably on that. We could live ditto on $ one million, even $ 500k for that matter. Factor that with the reality that the top bracket for federal income tax is at 37%, when in 1980 it was double that. In 1961, when JFK took office, it was at 90%. Do you think these sports divas ( owners , players and media) have a great deal?
By no stretch of the imagination is “sport” sport today – whether amateur or professional. It is “business” in the purest sense of the word. Stopped watching “sports” long time ago.
I like you grew up with the Yanks when it was a game and my Dad was working man but a couple times a year we would take the train to to watch the Reds play in riverfront stadium and we had dogs and soda. As time passed the multi million dollar babies got more and more money and ticket prices went out of sight so working people could not afford to attend, I lost interest in all of it and the commentary as well. You hit the nail on the head about how well they are doing but did you know about the stadium scam they shove off on the public? The stadiums are made obsolete before they are paid for and then they build another one at tax payer expense and the teams and owners pay nothing to play in these modern gladiatorial shrines that we are on the hook for and they keep doing it. The teams threaten to leave and the city builds them a new stadium at no cost to the owner, player. Like the song says “Nice work if you can get it”. Now they brain wash the public with military displays at every game no mater if it is Pro or University, with giant flags, war plane flyovers and marching military bands. What a pitiful, pathetic, paltry piece of shit it all is. The fox is in the hen house and I have no idea how to go about getting it out but your voice gives me an outlet so thanks again Phillip. Jack Williams, Asheville, N.C.
thanks Jack. we agree 10000%.
my idea is to Surtax everyone earning over one million dollars per year by a 50% FLAT TAX with NO deductions. Bonuses and earnings from stocks would be added into any income for that year.
Since we cannot see a true socialist form of gov’t, at least this would get some of those Fat Cat earnings into our treasury… for use as a true safety net for the rest of us.
Excellent column thanks. I grew up in Montreal and used to attend Montreal Canadians hockey games at the old forum for a reasonable price but then they moved to a new arena (Molson stadium) and prices went through the roof. They also had the Montreal Expos but a billionaire named Jeffrey Luria, whom Trump appointed as ambassador to France, perpetrated a scam to bankrupt the team, sell off its players and then move the team to Florida. I good example of what you are discussing of how professional sports got corrupted and ruined.
thanks Jeremy and keep up the good work at Covert Action site.
I love the major sports and just cannot keep the sports talk shows on anymore. All they do is go back and forth over who is going to make $ Mega millions etc and this contract and that contract.
It is obscene that young fans have to be propagandized that it is Ok to pay humongous salaries, with team owners AND the media making $ Zillions on their dime.
As is usually the case political analyst Mr.Farruggio has very accurately captured the idiocy and absurdity of modern athletes’ salaries,how greedy team owners manipulate to get new stadiums built at taxpayer expense ,etc… however it was not necessary to introduce the Howdy Doody analogy.Writer,analyst Farruggio characteristically goes right to the heart of the matter ..this time ,there were several unnecessary sentences (the Howdy Doody incident), but that doesn’t negate the fact that Mr.Farruggio is a MUST read.
thanks Miles. by the way, were you named after the Miles Shoe Stores? They were big perhaps when you were born.
You must have been too young though to appreciate Howdy Doody. Sad