Calvin Coolidge's Maxim That the Business of the American People is Business Holds True in Sports from the High School Level to the NFL, But Do the Structure of Professional Leagues Undermine the American Capitalist Ideal? (Sports and the Market) by David Archer

Calvin Coolidge's Maxim That the Business of the American People is Business Holds True in Sports from the High School Level to the NFL, But Do the Structure of Professional Leagues Undermine the American Capitalist Ideal? (Sports and the Market)

By David Archer

  • Release Date: 2010-08-26
  • Genre: Social Science
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Description

Back in June when the soccer World Cup was in full swing and even the incessant sirens of Washington, D.C., seemed to be drowned out by the vuvuzela, Marc Thiessen of the American Enterprise Institute published a blog post asserting that soccer is a socialist game. It was flippant, tongue-in-cheek, and, above all, provocative, to judge by the chorus of outraged diatribes that sounded from across the blogosphere. With a nimble piece of footwork, Thiessen went on to find a helpful ally for his thesis, quoting soccer veteran John Barnes in his support. Barnes said: "The teams which embrace the socialist ideology rather than having superstars, are the teams that are successful." Barnes's comments were undermined somewhat by the result of the final, when the industrious but dull Dutch were undone by the superstar-heavy Spanish team. Thiessen wasn't the only American to ruffle feathers. Richard Epstein wrote a piece for Forbes magazine suggesting a number of rule changes for soccer borrowed from hockey and basketball to "transform a flawed game." I would have expected a libertarian scholar like Epstein to have a greater respect for the market. By measures of participation and fan following, soccer is arguably the most popular sport in the world today, and its rules have barely changed since they were published by the English Football Association in 1863. Having said that, the England-Germany game showed the necessity of introducing goal-line technology to correct refereeing mistakes, so I yield to Epstein ever so slightly.

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