Monday, September 17, 2007

The Hypocrisy of The Sports Kitty

Hating on columnist Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, is the required merit badge of sports blogs and I've earned my merit badge in the past. I don't try to do it very often, but sometimes his opinions deserve the treatment (just don't get me started on his righteous soothsayer, "I was right" act on Greg Oden). Today, I came across one such opinion.

Simmons, an abashed Boston homer, has been feeling the pain recently due to the Patriots' little kerfluffle regarding the filming of the NY Jets' defensive signals. Backed into a corner by the ceaseless taunting, friends/enemies cracking wise and his beloved Patriots' considerable legacy at least somewhat tarnished, The Sports Kitty came out hissing and swatting with claws out at the detractors of New England.

There is no shame in defending your team. I don't blame him for that, but I don't condone his hypocrisy in argument.

In defending his team, The Sports Kitty brings up the argument that it was cheating, but that it doesn't really matter because it is just sports. Specifically, he says:
See, that's the thing. It's sports. People cheat. People do bad things. People make mistakes. It's just like real life, only it doesn't matter nearly as much.
I can get behind this sentiment. Sports is entertainment and escape from reality. Yes, it may reflect our society at times and become inescapably intertwined with issues (see: Jackie Robinson), but for the most part sports is separate from life. So, for the most part, sports issues (I'm talking about truly sports issues like this and not issues like Michael Vick's dog-fighting) are largely immaterial to the rest of society and don't deserve sports fans getting up in arms about them.

The next paragraph Kitty-cat details many of the more important travails currently in the world: the war in Iraq; global warming; pervasiveness of internet porn; the use of internet to aid pedophiles; and...wait for it...steroids in baseball affecting the homerun records.
We live in a world in which every home run record from the past 10 years has to be taken not just with a grain of salt, but an entire salt shaker.
Wait. What? The questionability of MLB's homerun records is a more important issue than the Patriots' cheating? I thought sports was like real life, only it doesn't matter as much. What happened? Did he take a catnap and forget his statement only one paragraph above?

The audacity of such a position is incredible. Lets see all the adjectives/phrases I can use to describe it: hypocritical; having your cake and eating it too; having it both ways; disingenuous; stupid; hairbrained...the rest will just be more catty so I'll stop.

One is cheating in sports and the other is...cheating in sports. Big difference there right? In fact, the New England cheating was banned by the NFL rules and save for the last few years, steroids were not banned by MLB rules. You can make the argument that steroids were still illegal and New England's cheating was not, but either way it amounts to cheating in sports. And, the steroids uproar definitely seems to be about its affect on baseball and not the illegality of it.

The point is, The Sports Kitty cannot argue that the New England cheating isn't a big deal because it is just sports and then turn around and say steroids is a big deal. Both are forms of cheating and if you condemn one then you must condemn the other. Or, you can take the opposite position of indifference because it is just entertainment in the form of sports and the issues really aren't that big a deal.