“Most folks understand sports. Probably because it’s one of the few places where it’s a true meritocracy,” Obama said. “Ultimately, who’s winning, who’s losing, who’s performing, who’s not — it’s all laid out there.”
For centuries, the arts were funded by the nobility, who used money extorted from their subjects to act as patrons to history’s greatest artists, for better or for worse. In lieu of having such an aristocracy, we have tax money going toward such things as the NEA and Austin City Limits. The fact of the matter is if we want a culture worth being proud of, somebody’s got to pay for it.
I suppose the same goes for public stadiums, which are useful for a variety of purposes unrelated to the sports franchises that use them. But just because the people are willing to cough up some dough for their bread and circuses doesn’t mean penny-pinching owners and players union bosses should abuse the privilege.
JUSTIN VERNOLD is a copy editor at The Daily Star. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.