Is the American Sporting System, Communist?

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IMay 17, 2009

MOSCOW - MAY 20:  A statue of Lenin looks over the approach to the stadium ahead of the Champions League Final at the Luzhniki Stadium on May 20, 2008 in Moscow, Russia. The Champions League Final will take place in Moscow on May 21, 2008.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

This may seem like a strange idea to think of in the land of the free (and the home of the brave), but the wide world of sports in America could be termed as the land of supporting Communism.

Could a country that is based on free market economics and laissez faire attitude be equated to be the same as the dreaded “reds under the bed"?

Just look at the definition of Communism (from Latin communis = "common"): a socioeconomic and political ideology, that promotes the establishment of an egalitarian, and stateless society based on common ownership and control of the means of production and property in general.

Well, egalitarianism means equal, and I must say, the draft is a system by which this is attained.

By allowing the weaker teams each season to draft first allows them the chance to gain an advantage over the better teams. Thus, equaling the playing field over time.

The NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA all have common ownership of the raw resources that enable the means of production. By controlling the draft in the way that they do, and not letting market forces dictate which teams have the best players, means that American sports ultimately become a mediocre parody of the United States and the idea of the Capitalistic American dream.

The USA is built on the idea of the meritocracy. The idea that only the best is good enough, but that isn't the case in American sports. If you look at the world of soccer in every country except the United States, there is the concept of relegation and promotion throughout.

In the English Premiership, and almost every European football league next weekend, there will be many relegation battles. These are battles are for survival in the top division (or any of the other three professional divisions in England) to maintain playing against the best teams.

The relegation/promotion system is based on the bottom three (for example) of a division being relegated to the lower division. Then the top three teams from that same lower division gain promotion taking the bottom three’s place.

Losing is not an option that any team sees as a good thing; it is the gaping maw of an abyss that can take years to get back from.

An example of this is Leeds United a team with years of tradition and success.

Only a few years ago they were battling it out at the top of the Premier League and in the Semi Final of the European Champions League, the preeminent club football competition in the World. Now they are in the third tier of English Football (They were deducted points for financial irregularities that caused by their relegation to the English second tier).

It is like the Tampa Bay Rays getting relegated to AAA, then getting relegated again to AA after being in the World Series.

Relegation means that it is harder to draw the better players that you need to gain promotion, so it all becomes that little bit more difficult. Attendances gradually fall and then sponsorships follow suit.

Could you ever see one of the NFL, MLB or NBA owners ever letting their prized cash cow lose all that money this way?

In American sports mediocrity is rampant. Teams that just make up the numbers with very little chance of success, but will always fill out a stadium. This allows the chance of their franchise been sold to another city being slim to none (think of the Cleveland Browns, no offence intended to you Browns fans out there).

The draft system in America just helps to keep the status quo by awarding the best options to the worst teams. This just allows the American version of communism to continue.