Wednesday, September 11, 2013

#StonewallSochi #SingSochi

An athlete boycott of the Sochi Olympics was never going to happen. Let's be clear about that. Yes, Harvey Fierstein's op-ed piece in The New York Times comparing the anti-gay laws and ugly rhetoric in Russia to the anti-Semitic rants of the Nazi's before the 1936 Games was compelling.

As if a compelling argument actually mattered.

We all get what matters: Money. Obscene amounts of money have been made and will be made in these Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia in 2014. And that's why there won't be a national boycott. Money always trumps human dignity. But we already knew that, didn't we?

And hey, the IOC says Russia has assured everyone that it won't arrest athletes or fans during the Games. The real horror, brutality and inhumanity will be saved only for its own citizens. So there's really no need for the world to care or even notice. Move along, people, nothing to see here ...

So what are those of good conscience to do about these Games, which will be held in a frightening country where athletes will try to compete at their best while under the threat of jail or expulsion if they offer a statement of support to the oppressed?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Stakeholder journalism bias, Pete Prisco edition

Is it just me, or did Pete Prisco's column on the $765 million concussion settlement with players read like an old NFL talking-points memo?

Prisco wrote that NFL players who sustained brain damage from the game shouldn't be compensated for their suffering because they knew what they were getting into when they agreed to play football. Of course, that doesn't mesh with the accusation that the league misled players about the danger of concussions. But that side of the lawsuit somehow wasn't mentioned in Prisco's column.

Look, if Prisco wants to announce to every player in the NFL that they get what they deserve for playing the game and shouldn't receive a dime in disability compensation, that's his prerogative. It's hard to believe players are going to have an ounce of respect for him after that column. But that's his choice.

Nor am I going to suggest Prisco might have brain damage, as Keith Olbermann did in his otherwise expert takedown of Prisco's relative indifference to the hardship and tragedy of former players like Junior Seau, who committed suicide like others who were found to really have brain damage.

I prefer to focus on the most obvious reason why Prisco would write such a conveniently dismissive, pro-NFL column about potentially thousands of irreparably damaged human beings: