Harder to Watch Sports These Days

You know, it’s getting harder and harder to enjoy sports these days.

I used to be a rabid sports fan. I loved it/them, depending on what side of the ocean you live on. Now, I kind of, sort of like them. I’ve lost a lot of affection for them for a variety of reasons. For starters, having been involved in sports media for 44 seasons, I’ve been a lot of places, seen a lot of games and been in a lot of locker rooms at every level, from youth leagues to the pros.

Sometimes the things fans don’t see are the reason why more fans don’t jump ship. After doing this so long, you kind of get jaded to things, too.

I saw a post the other day that suggested Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott claimed he couldn’t support his family on $34 million a year. I think that was a bogus post, but he did turn down $33 million from the Cowboys. Is he worth that kind of money?

Probably not, but the Cowboys seem to like to spend a lot of money on semi-productive quarterbacks (see Tony Romo). What kind of bang for their buck have they gotten out of Prescott? Have the Cowboys won playoff games? Nope. Even been to a Super Bowl in the last 10 years? Nope. Close? Nope. But that’s a lot of cheddar to spend on someone who isn’t producing trophies.

Similarly, there was a story about the numerous players in Major League Baseball making over $25 million a year. Look, I’m a capitalist. Make all the money you can. I have no quarrel with that. But you can see why some fans get kind of turned off, especially when teams raise ticket and concession prices to help offset the salaries. It seems the regular, clock-punching Joe is getting squeezed out as a paying customer … because going to the games is unaffordable.

You hear about players taking a knee for the National Anthem, even during international competition. Even the U.S. Olympic Committee has set guidelines about such things for Tokyo this year and Beijing next year. If athletes are going to protest, then why represent your country? Fans get turned off by this too.

When we watch ballgames on television, we want to be entertained. We seek escape. But the networks insist on cramming politics down our throats. A lot of fans have stopped watching.

I keep waiting for the time when fans actually do revolt. When they actually turn their backs on sports and say “enough already.” People talk a big game, but talk is cheap.

Sports ain’t.

Editor’s note: Jim Steele is a correspondent for Magic Valley Publishing and host of The Pressbox, which airs 4-6 p.m., Monday-Thursday on 95.9 WRJB FM, Camden.

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