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Sun. Jul 21st, 2019

Healthy Conversations for Vibrant Nations

A web blog discussing current health and public policy issues in the US and globally

America’s Sports Leagues and Draft System; is it Socialism, Modern day Slavery or both? By Dr. Yaw Berko

4 min read

If you have an opinion in America you definitely have a label. I have been accused by both black and white patients of being racist. So I guess I am “biracist”. I also believe in limited government so I am against any government interference in what two consenting adults should do, I am pro-choice and like former Speaker Mr. Boehner an ardent advocate for legalisation of cannabis, so I have been accused of being a liberal! As a physician with a good grasp of what pertains in the trenches and front lines of our health system, I believe that all Americans should have access to good quality health care and education irrespective of social stature or zip code! My belief in the fact that a single mother who works at Walmart or prisoner on death row should get the same top medical care as a congressman or senator has also earned me the term “socialist.” Recently I was accused of being “anti-white Christian men” if there is even such a thing because I argued that Confederate leaders were not patriotic Americans! I believe that there is “ a clear distinction between remembrance of history and the reverence of it” and so still hold firm the belief that Confederate statues belong in museums rather than the streets of America! If that makes me “anti-white Christian men” then please dial me in! Just by reason of where I come from the President of the United States calls me a “shithole”! I don’t believe one person can be all of the above and be an honourable man: so I am a “self-avowed unabashed biracist, liberal anti-white Christian men Socialist Shithole muthafucka!!

Today however I would like to talk about my socialist tendencies and how I really find it really mind boggling how some American “Capitalists” specifically sports team owners have used socialism to keep enriching themselves! That is one feat that never cease to surprise me, how the hell did these guys manage that?

To begin with they get free access to young college students who have to enter a system called the “draft” Before you participate in the draft, you go through an exercise called “combine” where your would-be “slave masters” watch your ability to lift weights, ran 40 yard races and throw a ball! It reminds me of parading old slaves before their would be buyers before the actual purchase! The players are then put in the draft system where the team that placed last gets to pick the best players first! Yeah, you read right! Last-placed teams are allowed to choose first, a classic case of rewarding mediocrity! If that’s not the epitome of socialism then I don’t know what else is? Some teams intentionally tank mid-season so they can get to choose top draft for the next season!

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Checking all the wares in an Alabama Slave Market in the antebellum South – Scene from the Movie; Mandingo, 1975

The American team owners then form a cabal where the team spots are fixed! There is no relegation system where poor performing teams can be relegated to a lower league and allow top performing teams from a lower league to join the premier one! Instead, those with mediocre records are rewarded with better athletes in the draft! The league should be run like the Dow Jones Industrial Average where weaker companies are dumped from the list and stronger ones added! That certainly will be a tribute to capitalism!

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Wall Street Trading Floor

In this great capitalists nation, it is unfathomable that teams would be punished for spending as much money as they want to build the best team money can buy! Salary caps and luxury taxes are instead slapped on teams limiting how much each team can spend on players, punishing teams like my favourite NY Yankees in an attempt to close the gap between the rich and poor teams! If that’s not socialism then I don’t know what capitalism is not either! A salary cap robs players like LeBron James the ability to earn the highest amount of money his skills should fetch him!

In a classic case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” the Leagues then become “modern-day Robin Hood” by redistributing wealth amongst the rich and poor teams! This happens mostly in the equal share of TV revenues where the big city teams with big TV revenues share their profits with small teams that have low TV ratings! Ain’t that a socialist bitch?

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So inasmuch as Americans beat their chest sore about “capitalism and all its desirability” in real life their most loved sports leagues are fashioned in a way described by one analyst as “overall success is punished by design, misfortune is rewarded by design and the power of wealth is circumscribed with spending caps.”

The evidence is amply clear! There is no capitalist or socialist state. A well-run nation operates on the virtues of both beliefs, knowing that people should be allowed to achieve their highest potential whilst at the same time recognising that we all were not born with the same opportunities and that assistance to those marginalised to help them achieve upward mobility is a must for a stable society!

So next time you call me a socialist remember that each year I pay Medicare and Social Security taxes so you can enjoy those benefits: benefits that I might not enjoy when I retire because the country may be bankrupt then!

Shalom

Picture credits

Feature Photo- LeBron James in Lakers Uniform courtesy of the LA Lakers.

Ken Norton of Mandingo fame – Courtesy of Indiwire

Wall Street Trading Floor – Courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation

 

 

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