Sports Of All Sorts Scattered Between The Dots…….Sports and Greed And Who’s To Blame……………………..By RC

I will try not to get negative during this writing but what I have to say here looms in the back of my mind continually. We have a “greed” problem in this country with no end in sight. It makes no difference if we are speaking of entertainment, sports, CEO’s, or politics; it is everywhere. I am amazed at the amount of money that people in those revenue producing fields earn annually. What amazes me even more is how there is enough money to go around for everyone in this country given the earnings and the continuing rise in salaries……………Now I am here to talk sports and not entertainers, CEO’s, and politicians. But before I exit those three areas of wealth let me share what a government professor of mine at West Texas State University told my class in the late sixties. He told the entire class that the greatest threat to democracy in our country was having our lawmakers set their own salaries and benefits. So not only in politics but in the corporate world and entertainment as well most of the time if not all the time the boss sets his own salary and the rest of us just live with that……………………..I know in sports that the salaries have ballooned at an exponential rate since about 1969. That was the year that Curt Flood, an outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, challenged the reserve clause in Major League Baseball because it forbid players from having any say as to which team that they could play for and for how long. It short they did not have an opportunity to peddle their wares, or sell their enormous talent to the highest bidder. While Curt Flood never fully got to reap the ripe fruits of free agency he definitely made many athletes in many different sports more than wealthy because he would not accept the provisions that governed the movement of players in America’s Pastime. Now maybe there was free agency before Curt Flood came along but this writer cannot remember it if that was the case………………………But as the athletes in the various sports became richer and richer my head began to spin faster and faster wondering where all that money was coming from. It was as if there was a bottomless pit filled with dollars for the game’s brightest stars. I couldn’t help myself: I wanted to go back to the days when it embarrassed Mickey Mantle to be the first New York Yankee and maybe the first professional athlete playing on a team to make a six figure salary. In fact, I think he even asked the ownership to redo his salary so as to not show him making a hundred grand or whatever the bottom line was at the time……………………..Now I am not here to criticize Curt Flood because he had a very legitimate argument in regard to the right to have the opportunity to be paid more for his services and to refuse a trade to any team whose on field performance would diminish his worth. After all his performance on the field was making those who owned the team very very rich. He simply wanted a bigger piece of the pie and who can blame him. However it is ever so hard to see the justification in all this nowadays when we pick up the morning paper or tune in to our favorite sports talk show and read or hear about another monstrous contract being signed by what seems like yet another unappreciative and egomaniacal professional athlete. So what is the first thing that pops into my mind: “greed”……………………….And of course here I am one of the most devoted fans of the most abusive organization in professional sports when it comes to money and greed and what it can buy. And also of course no one is any more proud than me when the Yankees sign yet another multi-talented free agent. Very simply, I cannot help myself: I want them to win! With 27 World Championships no one will ever get close to them in that category and for sure not in my lifetime but hey, I want more…………………………..So who is to blame for the greed and the insatiable appetite to go out to a ball park or a stadium to watch with awe, the talents of one of those gifted bonus babies. I think that I answered that between the last set of dots. It is people just like Ronnie Clifton. How great would it be to be able to have enough money to rent one of those luxury boxes at “The Ball Park” or at “Cowboy Stadium” and set there in the grandest of lifestyles and watch the favorite team play game after game. In fact it would just be really nice to have season tickets in a location of choice to watch all the games any time the heart desired. So have I answered the question, who is to blame for the greed?….……………………..It is us the average fan mostly, but also the most and least fortunate ticket buyers who go out to watch professional sports at every opportunity. We will pinch pennies and save and save until we have the dough to spend on what we hope is a memorable evening or afternoon watching those same guys that we love to criticize for the size of their contracts. Yes they are our heroes and yes we are the ones supplying the fuel to their burning desire to get richer. We are the guilty party………………….How disappointed are you when that one player, the one that you idolize, or even more, the one that your son or daughter idolizes, departs for greener pastures? And those pastures are green because they are lined with dollars and not grass. When you know that you have sacrificed other wants or needs just for a shot to take your family to see that one player or the entire team and then they leave for another team, you have to feel just a little betrayed. You can say that you understand, but do you really? For example how many of you Ranger fans out there wished A-Rod well and continue to cheer for his success? We have all had to swallow those bitter pills……………………….I get really irritated at both the athletes and the owners. Just look at what has happened to the Dallas Mavericks one short year after reigning over the NBA. First it was Tyson Chandler, then J.J. Berea, and now Jason Terry. I don’t know how individually talented these three guys are but I can tell you this, they helped make up one of the all time great team chemistries in NBA history. I know that because they just handed one of the most “greed laden” and yet one of the most talented teams in NBA history their tails on a silver platter. Why did Mark Cuban let them walk away and even more why did they want to walk away. More dollars, I know, but they will have so much when they leave the NBA that they wouldn’t have really noticed the difference. There simply is no loyalty left. And yet you and I pay those handsome ticket prices to watch both owners and players completely destroy any sense of obligation, an obligation that you and I depend on in our jobs daily just to keep us going……….…………….In 2009 the Yankees won their 27th World Title. It was their eleventh since I had started watching them play in the summer of 1957. I was ever so grateful for that opportunity because with so much parity in baseball the window for winning world championships has become smaller and smaller. So I was pumped and ready to see the Yanks win number 28 in 2010. But then came the news that the World Series MVP Hidecki Matsui would no longer be a Yankee. He was aging and the Bombers could no longer afford him. Shortly after that Johnny Damon was gone for the same reasons. I was truly upset. I will forever believe that had it not been for that duo, the Yankees would never have won the series. I will even say that had Matsui not been the MVP, Damon very well could have been. I knew the circumstance for their departure but I also knew that the chemistry on that team was departing as well. Who was to blame? Yes the owners and the players both. And had I been a New Yorker with ample coins, I would have been there spending it on two beloved heroes just to watch them walk away…………………..I could give several more examples, most notably around here, the demise of the Dallas Cowboys after the triplets saw teammate after teammate leave for the land of milk and honey. They could still win for awhile but the “greed” took over on the player’s part and even more so, on the part of the king of greed Jerry Jones…………………..But sell out after sell out comprised of the “average joe” and his family feeds that greed. We can’t help ourselves. Sometimes it is a needed outlet to go out and scream at someone for doing either good or bad. Sometimes it is the opportunity to take our kids to something that we were denied as kids. Who knows what the reasons are, but whatever they may be it has become inevitable that we, the adoring fans, will continue to feed the “greed”……………………………..RC

About Ronnie Clifton

Ronnie Clifton was a Texas Football Coach for 29 years. In addition to football, Clifton also served as the head coach in basketball and both girls and boys track. “I loved being involved in and playing sports as a kid, and I soaked up every ounce of available information about any sporting event; I also love to write. What better combo for me than becoming the writer of a sports blog?”
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4 Responses to Sports Of All Sorts Scattered Between The Dots…….Sports and Greed And Who’s To Blame……………………..By RC

  1. Dennis Marken says:

    Hastiness, greed and superficiality are the psychic diseases of the twentieth century… Alexander Solzhenitzyn.

    • Ronnie Clifton Ronnie Clifton says:

      Thanks for the reply Dennis. Thanks for reading. I knew that if anybodycould that you could come up with a quote such as that. And I couldn’t agree more. Greed really disturbs me and it rears its ugly head all too often in our lives.

  2. Fredda Jones Fredda Jones says:

    I agree with most everything you have said here; however, I also disagree. Fans completely forget that a baseball game, etc. is a business…a job…a career…if you will. Those young men on the diamond, the field, the floor, the horse, etc…had better produce and produce well, or they are history. They play for money, and when a better offer comes along, they move…just like an engineer, a principal, or a factory worker.

    Of course, you are 100% correct that the fans are the ones who set the salaries of the players. If they want to drop the price of everything from a hot dog to the multimillion dollar salaries earned by players, they can accomplish it all in a single season by simply staying home.

    Now, as to the greed…it is rampant in every part of this country. However, there’s not a one of us who would not collect the paycheck the fans are silly enough to offer us. We The People have allowed our sports to become out of control just as we have allowed our government to become out of control.

    And Ronnie, it is also Fredda Jones who is at fault right along with you.

  3. Harrell Gilbreath says:

    Ronnie,Fredda, as i read your words I become angry, I become disgusted, I become sad. No use pretending I understand why greed has permeated all the areas you talk about but I don’t. Please keep writing and I will keep reading and trying to understand.Understand why greed steamrolls a way of life this Country was developed to provide for ALL it’s Citizens.

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