A Contract For Hope

Devon Still and his four-year old daughter, Leah.

Contracts between professional athletes and their respective teams are some of the most lucrative agreements we see in the world today. Players are rewarded for their on-field achievement as well as the hope they provide for future success. These contracts are guaranteed for the duration of the agreement in three of the four major professional sports leagues in our country today, with the exception being the National Football League. In professional football, contracts are not guaranteed, leaving is up to the owner’s discretion whose contracts will be honored and whose will be terminated. This agreement between professional football players and team owners regarding contracts is a situation that closely follows the principles outlined by Thomas Hobbes and has been in the news recently with an inspirational story from the Cincinnati Bengals. Continue reading

Times Change, What’s Right Doesn’t

A picture of Smith and Carlos protesting during the medal ceremony in the 1968 Olympic games.

With the immense popularity of professional sports today, it is no surprise that some athletes use their platform to make statements regarding social and political issues. These statements are oftentimes the issues that impact these athletes the most, from civil rights to political causes, and much more. Athletes are hoping to mitigate problems, and with their high-profile status, they can bring much attention to many issues. Two very similar, notable issues involving 1968 Olympic medal winners and the very recent incident involving St. Louis Rams football players are classic examples of players protesting using the beliefs taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Continue reading

The NFL: A Socialist Empire

The National Football League logo.

“It is a form of socialism and it’s worked quite well for us,” were the words of National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell in his January, 2012 interview with 60 Minutes. The National Football League is the most popular athletic league in the country today. Revenues in excess of $9 billion dollars annually and popularity are at all-time highs under Goodell’s leadership. The question of how to monetize and maintain this popularity is very relevant, and as evidenced by Goodell’s quote, to do so the National Football League leverages a 19th century philosophy described by Karl Marx. Continue reading

The New Age Of Athletics

Women’s lacrosse is now considered a varsity sport at most high-level universities.

When watching sports today, one can easily find women competing at the highest levels in a variety of sports including the Olympics, professional leagues, and collegiate sports. In today’s world, women have the ability to participate in almost any sport they desire, including sports once considered to be exclusively for men. This is not how it has always been. Until the 1970s when landmark legislation called Title IX was enacted, women had very few athletic opportunities and the available options were confined to sports deemed by cultural norms to be “feminine.” This discrimination of women and limiting of the opportunities available to them can be directly attributed to a larger cultural belief that existed during the time. The impact of Title IX can be seen in today’s landscape where freedom of opportunity is almost unrecognizable from the time before it was introduced. When observing the history of women’s athletic opportunities and the cultural notions that surround them, it is very helpful to examine the situation before and after Title IX was enacted. Continue reading

Protecting The Shield

The National Football League logo, commonly referred to as The Shield.

The National Football League is a billion-dollar empire that continuously ranks as the most popular sport in the country. People have religiously devoted themselves to their team’s performance every Sunday, which has resulted in huge profits and significant expansion in recent years. Much of this popularity and success is do to the on-field performance of the players, but a significant portion of the success can be attributed to the relationship between the league and the player’s union. Although they accomplish much, the struggle for power and control over the vast empire of the National Football League is not always peaceful and frequently shows similarities to violence that is detailed by Thucydides thousands of years ago.

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Was It Worth It?

Baseball’s all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds.

If you have ever participated in a competitive sport, you can surely appreciate the determination of some athletes to win at any price. The admiration, recognition, and financial bounty available to those who are most successful is very lucrative and can temp some to try anything.  In most cases this would include very intense training and practicing, but too frequently today athletes are resorting to a very dangerous method, performance-enhancing drugs. The usage of performance-enhancing drugs in athletics today has become a very important and problematic issue in recent years, but the reasons athletes use performance-enhancing drugs can be connected to a principle several centuries old by Niccolò Machiavelli. Continue reading