I have never been a football fan. In addition to my adolescent frustration at having The Simpsons and X-Files pre-empted by a group of grown men lunging at each other in formations I had no frame of reference for or interest in, I also grew up in Cincinnati, OH, and thus had no access to a professional football team. I would roll my eyes at the grown-ups and wait for the halftime show, or perhaps a Beavis & Butthead cartoon, or of course, the commercials (which have declined in cleverness and are now premiered weeks ahead of time on the internet anyway).
I have watched and even celebrated Super Bowls with friends and co-workers (it is sort of inevitably the case when you go to college in Pittsburgh, PA, a city whose entire economy revolves around the sport), but with the same sort of detached fascination an agnostic enjoys when accompanying his religion friends to their church, or mosque, or temple. And this same religiosity is what I can only assume allows people to be a die-hard fan of a sport where concussions and domestic violence are rampant, and where loyalty lies with an arbitrarily chosen team name over entire groups of people that it may offend.
I kid (sort of). I think that local sports teams, in general, help create a common culture and foster a spirit of friendly competition between cities, as well as contributing to an identity at a collegiate, local, state and even national level. But there are problems with propping up your city’s economy with sportsball.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has been a shrewd investment by the entrenched and moneyed San Francisco elite; why else spend nearly two million dollars on a candidate that was practically unopposed? (Answer: as a boondoggle to friends and consultants of the Willie Brown clique). Arguably, this mayor was only elected the first time out of an ironic hipster love of his mustache, in addition to the political machinations that thrust him unwittingly onto the dais. Recall that Mr. Lee initially professed no interest in running, a sort of “aw shucks” moment that would have had a more convincing impact if the ones who were clamoring for him were, ya know, everyday citizens and not political insiders.
The City under Lee’s leadership, in his infinite wisdom, has determined that the homeless are just too much a nuisance to the grand Super Bowl 50 endeavor being spearheaded (something something “the measure of a civilization” and all that) and “are going to have to leave”. Business types and NIMBYs like C.W. Nevius applauded the move… or rather, mysterious Giuliani-esque “relocation”, but that’s just semantics. The Mayor cooed about how this was in the best interests of those individuals who happen to be without homes (during the winter and with little recourse, a famous lack of affordable housing, and inadequate institutional support). Lee said it was “not just because it is illegal, but because it is dangerous for them.” And while the DOJ might have some non-binding opinions about the constitutionality of sit/lie, the latter assertion was not expounded on by the mayor; one can only assume he meant that football fans are drunken louts who will lash out at the city’s homeless in their reverie (kidding aside, I actually saw this happen in Pittsburgh).
Lest we start to believe that this was all just puffery on the part of the Mayor’s office, rest assured that the scourge of those jobless dregs have already been pushed to the outmost rim of the BART line, if reports from social media, friends and co-workers are any indication. The DPW has begun removing the tents of ‘tent city’ residents in SF, supposedly to protect them from El Niño and definitely not the conveniently timed Super Bowl events. But with nowhere to go, it remains to be seen how taking what little fabric and tarp shelters these humans have is going to help better prepare them for the coming storm.
A similar concern was raised about the City’s robust protest movements, which of course are never good for business (don’t they realize that?). But one is forced to wonder if perhaps this has less to do with ‘optics’ and just as much if not more to do with the fact that protesters have been pestering the good Mayor for months now; affordable housing advocates and opponents of police violence and deportations have already interrupted His Imminency at not only his prepared speech for MLK Day, but before that during his inauguration… twice.
Latest posts by Breshvic (see all)
- There’s a Drug that Prevents HIV, But Most People Don’t Know About it - Dec 18, 2016
- What would a Donald Trump Presidency look like? - Aug 8, 2016
- The Toll of Super Bowl 50 - Jan 28, 2016