Shut Up and Play: The Idiocy of Fusing Sports and Politics

Thomas CoglianoCorrespondent IMay 14, 2010

DALLAS - FEBRUARY 12:  Nba Announcer and former NBA player Charles Barkley looks on during the game between the Sophomore team and the Rookie team during the second half of the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center on February 12, 2010 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Politics—the art of the impossible.

So often, I hear that phrase and so often it rings quite true. 

Politics is a sleazy arena where opportunism is shamelessly disguised as an allegedly noble quest for the common good. 

In many cases, politics can shamelessly infiltrate environments that are by nature apolitical, such as religion and sports. 

There has been a great deal of political fuss surrounding the recently passed Arizona state law regarding illegal immigration. 

I am not going to declare where I stand on this particular law. I am neither a resident of Arizona, nor a resident of any "border state," thus, I am the first to admit my physical dis-attachment to the issues involved in that particular political debate. 

However, I am going to voice my opinion on those opinionators who consider it a sensible view to infiltrate the political discussion by dragging sports along with it. I am directing this at you, Charles Barkley!

In a recent interview with Sports Media Watch, Charles Barkley defended the talk of sports boycotts in Arizona with the argument that sports and politics have frequently fused in the past. 

He cited the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott of the Moscow Games and Muhammad Ali as two prime examples. But, little does Mr. Barkley realize that this is a foolish argument. 

Yes, Mr. Barkley, sports and politics have mixed in the past, but that was not the question, Sir Charles!  The question was, "Should politics and sports mix?" 

The correct answer, Sir Charles, is "NO!" 

Leave the environment of sports to its athletes and fans. Leave the environment of politics to its politicians and voters.

Sports is entertainment for the consuming pleasure of the many fans who attend the games with accountability that can be delivered at the ticket window. 

Politics is for the constituents to analyze and weigh with accountability that can be delivered at the ballot box.  

If honest political debate cannot be had in the political arena, then how dare we proclaim our nation to be a free republic with open exchanges of ideas? 

The political arena already has a mechanism in place for the people to voice their displeasure at public policy. It is called the polling booth. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with that concept, Sir Charles! It is an effective system that has lasted in this country since the election of George Washington in 1789.

But instead of devoting faith in the system correcting itself from perceived political miscues and mistakes, these boycott advocates have turned a local issue into a national one in which sports has become fused with politics. 

Politics, indeed, is the art of the impossible. Impossibly, it has now found a permanent branch in the entertainment arena!

Dare we call ourselves a free republic anymore?