40 Million dollar Men, Two Billion dollar Stadium, and ESPN layoffs…what’s in common?

At first glance one would say that there are no connections between any of the topics in the subject line.

Before I tie anything together – and if it all sounds like you have heard this before I’ll apologize in advance – a few things.

A disclaimer. I enjoy sports. I enjoy competition and of course I enjoy winning. I also don’t mind when I lose when the game is honest and competitive. In general and specifically humanity is competitive and this basic concept goes back to Darwin’s Law.

With the state of the sports world I am struggling to enjoy sports. I didn’t mind watching millionaires play a game and become wealthy. Most players when they are good become millionaires and I believed it to be a cool and good thing in general. They were on television and had advertising contracts and as they became more skilled they were able to make more on the market. The revenue streams were from contracts with over-the-air networks and the money all seemed to be reasonable. Mostly.

Leverage. Somewhere this word came into play with sports. It started with college with divisions signing large contracts with ESPN which shifted the college game. This occurred in all areas for the money was not small potatoes. Games which were once traditional over-the-air now are only available on ESPN.

Profit. I believe companies have the right to profit for their services. It is as American as apple pie and ice cream. ESPN is exploiting America and using publicly funded sites – stadiums specifically – to generate billions of dollars off the very taxpayer whose dollars built the very stadiums from which they profit.

Stadiums. Soon Las Vegas will have a new football stadium and it will be at the cost of over two billion dollars. It may very well reach three billion. Taxpayers will fund bonds to assist a billionaire owner to build this stadium at which taxpayers will then pay to park, eat, and recreate at this very stadium. ESPN will then charge taxpayers to watch anything inside the stadium. Should profit be generated by something the public paid for – and will continue to pay for? Ever?

Layoffs. Recently laid off some of their staff. That is not the notable part. The part that was notable is who was laid off. It appears that any reporter or writer who wrote with insight and compassion regarding issues and topics was laid off. While the recent layoffs were jarring in the number it had actually begun years prior as they released talent that were both insightful and challenging to what it was that ESPN appeared to be becoming. It is not fair to say this but Stephen A Smith is a shadow of who is left. The best analogy is to say that there were trusted newsmen – sportsmen – and now there is this. Someone who has only opinions based on nothing but biases which as he speaks reveal the superficiality and vapidness of his being. There is no insight. And that is what ESPN has become. An empty package.

So here you might say that one should not look for insight or meaning with sports. And you know something…I agree.

But I wish for more. If the taxpayers of America are going to be paying for a product then it should be a quality product. It is not.

And what is scary is that ESPN leveraged itself with recent contracts to the NBA, NFL, and any other sport it wished to have. This means that as consumers cable and internet will rise. And not just a little bit. Billions of dollars just do not fall from the sky. They come from you. They come from me. The contracts which were signed are irresponsible and illegal.

I’d like to see 100,000 people turn off their cable every month for a year. Starting on the East Coast. Keep the internet but cut the cord. After 4 months the cable companies will begin scrambling. After 8 months defaults will begin. After 16 months there will be collapses in stock and prices. And after 24 months America can negotiate in good faith to no longer be exploited by big business.

You could say that you can’t follow your team. Watch your team.

You would be right. Let me tell you something…it is not your team anymore. See the uniforms they are wearing? Guess how much they are receiving for that? See the flashing signs? Take another guess. See “your” coach? Do you know how much he is making? Think you can go and meet him? Buy him coffee? Go ahead and try. I’ll put money on you getting arrested before you can just buy him coffee or a drink.

It doesn’t matter who your team is right now. They are not yours.

And before I stop here I’ll just say one more thing for today.

Education. Those billions belong to society.   Should be invested in society. Not removed from it. Invested in it.

I don’t fault ESPN for using their leverage.



I just believe we should take it back.

An example of something that no longer exists. Something that is challenging, flawed, and beautiful all at the same time. Foretelling of events occurring today somehow and the shifting of society. Writing that appears to have disappeared?




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