Professional sports and slavery

Although I have sworn off professional football for a multitude of reasons, I was glad to see that Michael Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, even if it was in the very last round and just seven players shy of not being selected at all. Professional football is seen as an outpost of a weird idea of masculinity and to have an openly gay player become part of that world is progress on a broad social level, though in narrow terms of Sam’s personal health it would have been better for him if he were not drafted and left football and became an accountant or something and not suffer traumatic brain injury for the next decade.

But the intense focus on the draft reminded me that I have always found rather disturbing the way that professional sports in the US are run, with the whole business of drafting and trading players without them having a say in where they get to play.

Deranged millionaire John Hodgman takes the similarities even further on The Daily Show.

(This clip aired on May 8, 2014. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. Pen says

    They get paid lots of money and they can quit and become accountants if they want to?

  2. lorn says

    Yes, there are some interesting parallels to slavery within the NBA. But consider college teams, or the military. Even more down side and none of the pay.

  3. brucegee1962 says

    You know, among the many things that Jon Stewart doesn’t get enough credit for — whenever he has one of his correspondents on, he can be one of the greatest straight men of all time. Seriously, he’s up there with Abbott, Hardy, Dumont — people don’t realize that half the time, it isn’t the gags that are funny, it’s the reaction to the gags that make them funny.

  4. Mano Singham says

    Yes, that’s true. I am told that being the straight person is harder than the person who has the gags and yet gets little credit for their skill.

    Margaret Dumont was definitely one of the most under-rated. I heard that she was often bewildered by the freewheeling style of the Marx brothers.

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