Is there a cost to everyone when someone in the position of a Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds, Mr. Maguire or good-old Ben the Canadian Sprinter cheat (and lots of others)? Use drugs to promote their own selfish ambitions? Think they are above the rules or the law? A sense of unbridled entitlement gone wild? Is “win-at-any-cost” valid today?
I believe we all pay a price both financially and with some of our own self-esteem to say nothing of destroyed faith on the part of young people around the world. You can certainly argue all issues but I am going to focus here on the financial price. Sports is big business – HUGE business, in fact. Sports is entertainment, pure and simple. Is the lure of perhaps 10s of millions of dollars every year as an entertainer simply too much for some weak-willed people? Do we all have flaws – of course we do. Does their position as entertainers in the public eye place higher expectations on them and their behaviour? Are the temptations of the “good life” beyond the level for people to cope now?
Entertaining goes far beyond just sports of course, but it is in sports (professional and amateur) that the worst seems to rise (if that is the right word), to the top?
Billions of dollars are spent around the world every year – perhaps even trillions – to promote all types of sports and selected “top-calibre” players. The cost of these promotions, by the way, we ALL pay when we purchase the products made or sold by the companies who promote the sports and the players. Whether is is a potatoe chip brand, some health drink, high energy drink or our favourite alcoholic beverage – advertising (and sponsorships) are advertising is a very large part of the cost we pay.
Enthusiasm for sports and the players is good, it helps us feel good about things, including ourselves. It provides a mental escape (even if just for a few hours) from other aspects of our life when we feel the need. However, it does come at a cost – a cost that we all pay, either willingly or unwillingly and even for some people, unknowingly.
We all have the choice to speak with our voices, our feet and our money. Next time you make a purchase, consider the sponsorships that the manufacturer or producer does in the course of their business. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is becoming more widespread as it should. Should SRI be expanded now to include the ethical issues relating to various sports and players? You decide!