By Ken Reed

Too often ego dominates the sports landscape in the form of win-at-all-costs (WAAC), profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) and entertainment-at-all-costs (EAAC) ethos.

Things like justice, fair play, and sportsmanship fall way down the list from those big three — despite a lot of lip service given to them.

Former New York Times columnist Robert Lipsyte elaborated on this phenomenon from a historical perspective recently in a USA Today op-ed.

After giving several examples of WAAC, PAAC and EAAC thinking trumping justice and fair play in sports, he provided what he sees as the cause: money from the TV and sneaker gods.

“Once television and the sneaker companies became the true governing bodies of sports, the corruption of athletics became almost total,” writes Lipsyte.

Well, I don’t know about “total” but WAAC, PAAC, and EAAC-fueled corruption certainly increased along with TV and sneaker revenue.

Lipsyte contends that if our values and priorities don’t change, the corruption will continue unabated.

“The corruption of TV and sneaker money, as pervasive as it might be on campus, is even more influential in the wider world of sports,” writes Lipsyte.

“As the stakes get higher, so does the drive to win, drugs and all. Unless we decide that justice and fair play are more important than our entertainment, it’s going to be a never ending story.”

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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