Tag Archives | Sports

Nearly 1,000 Workers Have Already Died Building Qatar’s World Cup Infastructure

qatarOur global sporting championship has a higher blood toll than the Hunger Games. Via the Smithsonian:

In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup. Since 2012, about 900 workers have died while working on infrastructure in Qatar, in a building boom anticipating the World Cup.

A report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) says that if conditions don’t get any better, by the time the World Cup kicks off, at least 4,000 migrant workers will have died on the job. For comparison, only six workers have died during construction for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil that starts this summer.

Workers described forced labour in 50C (122F) heat, employers who retain salaries for several months and passports making it impossible for them to leave and being denied free drinking water. The investigation found sickness is endemic among workers living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions and hunger has been reported.

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Corporate Sponsorship Turns Olympics Into ‘Hunger Games’ Scenario

1924WOlympicPosterIn The Nation, 2006 Winter Games luge competitor Samantha Retrosi compares the Olympics to “The Hunger Games” while discussing her own experience of being made into a voicebox for Vorizon. According to Retrosi, when corporate sponsorship falls through, many U.S. Olympic athletes are left with one back-up plan: join the Army:

The socialization of my allegiance to Verizon began the moment I was selected—as an 11-year-old—for the US development team. The culture within the US Luge Association viewed brand loyalty as integral to the survival of the organization. All of my clothing was plastered with the Verizon logo. I was not allowed near any camera without giving a visual and verbal statement of thanks to Verizon for making all of my dreams come true. I went through intensive media training each year to reinforce this allegiance—to learn how to be a better spokesperson for Verizon. During my Olympic year, I signed away my rights to use media time for just about anything other than gratitude to sponsors.

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The Anarchist-Marxist Sport Of The Future: Three-Sided Football

threeAmerican football it will be played in the Super Bowl is clearly a metaphor for the conquering of territory by force, a reenactment of the nation’s creation. Is it time for a national sport with different theoretical meaning? Wikipedia on three-sided football:

Played on a hexagonal pitch with three teams instead of two, it was devised by the Danish Situationist Asger Jorn to explain his notion of triolectics, his refinement on the Marxian concept of dialectics, as well as to disrupt one’s everyday idea of football.

The game deconstructs the confrontational and bi-polar nature of conventional football as an analogy of class struggle in which the referee stands as a signifier of the state and media apparatus, posturing as a neutral arbitrator in the political process of ongoing class struggle.

The first known game was organized by the London Psychogeographical Association as part of the Glasgow Anarchist Summer School.

 

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Tomorrow’s NFL Championship: The Marijuana Bowl

weed bowlWith their respective teams going head to head, is this year’s Super Bowl the closest thing to a national holiday commemorating the pioneering legalization of weed in Colorado and Washington? Refinery 29 notes:

The Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks will face off in Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2. The most offbeat narrative to emerge so far is the strange coincidence that the home states of both teams, Washington and Colorado, are the only ones with legalized recreational marijuana in the country. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the Marijuana Bowl. Or the Pot Bowl. Or the Weed Bowl.

The NFL forbids its players to use the drug, even for medical reasons. Marijuana advocacy groups point out that the drug can be helpful to players suffering from serious injuries, especially concussions. Others have pointed out that the NFL’s many tie-ins with the alcohol industry comes off as hypocritical.

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The Supernatural and Sports

Tim Tebow TebowingI suspect that like me, most of you won’t have associated the supernatural with sports, but according to a report in the Washington Times more than half of sports fans believe there are supernatural aspects at play in sporting events:

So do you say a little prayer during a pivotal play or wear lucky socks during a big game? You are not alone.

“Just ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl, 50 percent of sports fans see some aspect of the supernatural at play in sports, meaning they either pray to God to help their team, have thought their team was cursed at some point in time, or believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events,” reports a new survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan, non-profit group based in the nation’s capital.

A fervent 26 percent of the respondents say they have prayed that “for God to help their team”, while an equal number have entertained the notion that their team was “cursed.”

The gridiron tends to bring out this behavior.

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NFL Player Quits Midseason, Citing Noam Chomsky

moffitt

Not that I’m expecting football fans across the country to wake up and question whether they themselves are “pawns in a machine”,  but the abrupt retirement of John Moffitt, as reported by the New York Times, is commendable and intriguing:

“I don’t want to risk health for money,” said Moffitt, 27, who walked away from about $1 million in salary, various benefits for retirees who play at least three seasons and quite possibly a trip to the Super Bowl with the 9-1 Broncos. “I’m happy, and I don’t need the N.F.L.”

In the off-season, Moffitt started reading the writings of the Dalai Lama and Noam Chomsky, among others. They helped him conclude that he was a pawn in a machine that controlled his life.

Moffitt insisted that he did not care about the lost income, and he was shocked that people thought he was nuts for walking away from what they think is a glamorous lifestyle.

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Nine Out Of Ten Men Say They Fake An Interest In Sports

soccerSo does anyone actually like professional sports? Fascinating ritual sociology from the UK’s Daily Mail:

Nine out of ten men lie about liking sports to impress friends or to get ahead at work, it was revealed today. Football was the game that men most faked a love of, with two out of three admitting they gushed to mates about the national sport to avoid being unpopular, a survey of 500 Britons found.

Football was the most fibbed about, with 61 per cent hiding their dislike. The national game was followed by F1, cricket, gold and rugby. One in three admitted to lying because they thought it would aid their career.

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Mass UFO Sighting At Minor League Baseball Game

Openminds.tv writes:

A UFO was spotted at a Canadian minor league baseball game. One of the teams scored four runs about the time of the sighting, causing some to speculate it was “cosmic intervention.”

The game was at the Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium in Vancouver. In the sixth inning a shiny blue object was spotted over the right field fence. The Vancouver Canadians scored four runs in that inning, and went on to win the game 5-1.

Tweeters began using the hashtag #luckyUFO, and even the Canadians team tweeted about the UFO. At least two baseball fans tweeted pictures of the object. One says he saw the object hovering and moving up and down before it disappeared.

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Is Using Human Growth Hormone Bad?

Fester lurch 1966Dr. Kent Sepkowitz questions the negative media reaction to sports stars’ (and wannabes’) use of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) for the Daily Beast:

It appears that Major League Baseball is just about ready to give New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez the boot, possibly for life.

Although everything is at the rumor-only stage, accusations persist that A-Rod used human growth hormone, a performance-enhancing drug, obtained from the Biogenesis enterprise formerly headquartered in Coral Gables, Fla.

Setting aside whether Rodriguez is guilty or innocent, it’s fair to ask where all the excitement about HGH comes from, as well as where, in the cosmology of illegal performance-enhancing substances, it sits. First of all, HGH is not a steroid, though the term “steroid” has come to be used interchangeably and incorrectly with PEDs. Steroids and HGH are both hormones—in this one aspect there is a similarity—but steroids are produced by the body to promote sexual differentiation, while HGH is involved in growth and maturation.

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Thirteen Year-Old Wrestler Sexually Assaulted with Pencil in Brutal Hazing Incident

Hazing

Picture: Anti-Hazing poster by Auburn University (C)

Janet Allon writes at AlterNet:

In tiny Norwood, Colorado, a state high-school wrestling tournament turned into a nightmare for one of the team’s youngest members, when the 13-year-old was cornered, bound with duct tape and sodomized with a pencil, in what was called a “hazing” incident.

More outrageous still, is that this was only the beginning of the trauma he endured, after reporting the attack. He was bullied, ostracized, and humiliated on Facebook. Supporters of his attackers wore T-shirts supporting them, two of whom just happened to be sons of the wrestling coach, Robert Harris, according to the Denver Post. Just to add another strange wrinkle to this sad tale, the victim was the son of the school’s principal, begging the question: If he’s not safe, who is?

Sexual assault as part of brutal hazing rituals for sports teams is on the rise, with more than 40 high school boys reporting being sodomized by foreign objects by teammates in the last year.

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