It isn’t who you think; the leeches who live on public sympathies while returning little social value. A sustained debate has been held in this nation on the costs and benefits of items ranging from food subsidies to heating oil subsidies to free health care. Across the nation, it is human capital, and the commercial infrastructure it supports that is up for debate. But in the wide-ranging argument over who is worth the money, one group remains conspicuously above criticism; professional sports owners.
We love our major league entertainment in America; I am a long-suffering fan of the Cleveland Browns, and a rabid supporter of the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a former high school athlete (not very good) and youth sports coach (better than average), I am a believer in the value of sport. I am also, however, a believer in prioritization. To put a twist on a favorite quote from Mr. Holland’s Opus, “If I must choose between football and long division, I choose long division.” In the movie, the principal is canceling the music and drama programs to close a budget gap, the football program he leaves untouched. That is an example of Hollywood reflecting life, but our high schools are just following the trend we the people have established at the big league level. At a time of teacher layoffs and wholesale attacks on the idea of public education, our nation continues to spend public money at a rate of $1 billion per year on stadiums for professional sports. If you are one of those good folks who are outraged at $4 million earmarks to study bear DNA, you might want to take notes.