Spending public money on stadiums simply robs taxpayers

It takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the rich

Spending public money on stadiums simply robs taxpayers“The NFL is the richest sports franchise, full of billionaire capitalists demanding socialist handouts so they can make even more profits.”         – Ralph Nader The billionaire owners of the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills, Terry and Kim Pegula, have landed US$850 million in taxpayer dollars for the construction of a new…

Why can’t football make brain health a priority?

American society loves football so much it avoids hard discussions about the sport’s safety

Why can’t football make brain health a priority?We found out recently that a bright young man with a big heart and promising future died because of football. Twelve-year National Football League veteran and three-time pro bowler Vincent Jackson, who died at age 38 in February, had stage 2 CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) his family announced on Thursday. CTE is a degenerative brain…

The ‘woke mob’ didn’t get Aaron Rodgers. He got himself

The unvaccinated don’t seem to get that life is a team sport, not a me sport

The ‘woke mob’ didn’t get Aaron Rodgers. He got himselfAaron Rodgers has every right to hold whatever thoughts and beliefs he might have about COVID-19 and vaccines. But that freedom ends when his actions have a negative – or potentially negative – health impact on others. What the unvaccinated don’t seem to get is that this game called life we’re all playing is a…

How one athlete’s courage has given the LGBTQ community new strength

National Football League player Carl Nassib has given the battle against homophobia in sports and society in general a huge boost

How one athlete’s courage has given the LGBTQ community new strengthLas Vegas Raiders’ defensive lineman Carl Nassib announced he was gay last week. He’s the first active National Football League player to do so. It was a landmark announcement that will help thousands of young LGBTQ athletes and non-athletes alike. It’s a milestone that has – and will continue to – garner a lot of…

If a team name is offensive, change it without delay

Why is the Cleveland baseball team waiting until 2022 to make the change? Let the healing begin now

If a team name is offensive, change it without delayFinally, Cleveland’s Major League Baseball (MLB) team says it plans to replace its racist Indians nickname. That’s great news. The Indigenous shouldn’t be used as nicknames and mascots for sports teams in the same way lions, bears and other animals are. Period. But why is the Cleveland organization waiting until 2022 to make the change?…

Subway faces a rough road to restore its reputation

With sales falling and too many locations, many Subway franchisees are struggling to make a profit

Subway faces a rough road to restore its reputationCOVID-19 has not been kind to restaurants, as we know. But for Subway restaurants, the problems are much broader. Subway is the world's largest restaurant chain with nearly 42,000 locations, more than Starbucks or McDonald’s. But the chain is shrinking rapidly. It was already experiencing difficulties pre-pandemic and closed several thousand restaurants in North America.…

NFL all talk no action until Kaepernick signed

NFL all talk no action until Kaepernick signedAll of a sudden, the National Football League tells us it’s seen the light. The league’s leaders tell us their draconian reaction to players kneeling during the U.S. national anthem in protest of police brutality and social injustice was all wrong. That they’re very sorry. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even appears to be trying to…

Do we choose chaos or community?

It takes true courage to hear another person’s point of view, admit we were wrong, shift our beliefs and move forward

Do we choose chaos or community?One of the most important qualities of a good leader is the ability to listen. It’s very easy to jump on a bandwagon and it’s easy to jump to conclusions. It takes true courage to hear another person’s point of view, admit we were wrong, shift our beliefs and move forward. To be honest, my…

NFL draft gives starving sports fans a morsel

But many questions remain about restarting professional sports, including how all those enormous salaries will be paid

NFL draft gives starving sports fans a morselWith virtually no sports competition in North America in this COVID-19-blighted spring, the National Football League draft this week has taken on epic proportions. The fact that the teams and the players they select starting on Thursday may not even play in 2020 is irrelevant. We finally have a sporting event on TV that you…

Play ball! The COVID-19 sports conundrum

You can see the appeal for Trump to use sports to help restore normalcy as he heads for the November presidential election

Play ball! The COVID-19 sports conundrumOn the list of important issues in this troubled time, American President Donald Trump conducting a conference call with the commissioners of 11 sports leagues isn’t high on the priority list. But on Saturday, Trump convened a chat with the people leading these professional leagues – all of whom (except World Wrestling Entertainment, some horse…

Sports is the canary in the COVID-19 coal mine

So when will sports be resumed and how can they play a role in transitioning to normalcy again?

Sports is the canary in the COVID-19 coal mineCanada hasn’t been a trailblazer in much of the response to COVID-19. The federal government has been a day late and a quarantine short on some crucial issues. But in becoming the first major Western nation to completely withdraw from the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Canada has made a bold step. Now, an avalanche…

Don’t expect a pandemic to slow down the NFL

The league has a new deal with players, free-agency frenzy begins this week and big-time bargaining for TV rights is on the horizon

Don’t expect a pandemic to slow down the NFLThe National Football League has always thought it doesn’t play by the same rules as everyone else, so it shouldn’t be a total shock that – in the midst of a global pandemic – the league announced its new collective bargaining agreement with players that will take it through 2030. It also announced that it…

Short and sweet: pro sports need to pare down the length of games

Fans are staying away from stadiums in great part because the games take too long to play. The new XFL is trying a number of modifications to cut the length of games

Short and sweet: pro sports need to pare down the length of gamesFootball fans have spoken: the games last too damn long. Delays, reviews, timeouts and injuries turn 18 minutes of action into three-plus hours. At least that’s the results of research done for the new XFL, a football league that starts play on Feb. 8, right after the National Football League’s Super Bowl. The startup league…

NFL coaches need to embrace data and probability

If coaching has a capital offence, its ignoring the obvious probabilities that a good analysis could provide

NFL coaches need to embrace data and probabilityWe’re in the heart of the football malpractice season. Across the frozen tundras, National Football League coaches are being overwhelmed by the pressure of making key calls during the post-season. On Saturday, Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien was like a punch-drunk fighter from the very first quarter. Quickly down 7-0 after Buffalo drove on their…

How do we make sense of, and manage, football’s violence?

Head-first tackles, helmet swinging and devastating hip injuries all add to a game’s growing reputation for chaos

How do we make sense of, and manage, football’s violence?A couple incidents from last week’s football action have garnered a lot of media and fan attention: Myles Garrett’s bonehead use of Mason Rudolph’s helmet as a weapon and the terrible hip injury to Alabama’s star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. First, the Garrett situation. Twitter-verse is afire with emotional chatter about banning Garrett from the National…

Progress? Sport? The two shall never meet

From disputed strike zones to goal-line uncertainty to bloody high-sticks, major-league officiating can't seem to embrace high-tech

Progress? Sport? The two shall never meetIt’s Game Three of the 2019 World Series and the Washington Nationals hope to extend their surprising 2-0 lead in games over Houston. The Nats have revival project Anibal Sanchez on the mound to give Washington fans their first home-field win in a Series since 1933. But the Astros are off to a quick lead.…

The heavy burden of sports stardom

From Auston Matthews to Antonio Brown, the spotlight never seems to waver. Making a mistake can be very costly

The heavy burden of sports stardomIt doesn’t take much to send Toronto Maple Leafs nation into a tizzy. As the 2019-2020 season dawns, the supporters of the acer saccharum are consumed with whether their young franchise star Auston Matthews should be the club’s next captain. Distilled into a single sentence: can Auston wear the C when he’s acted like an…

Fans’ expectations of athletes are out of whack

Those who booed retiring Indianapolis Colt Andrew Luck should be ashamed of themselves. Athletes aren’t warriors created by central casting for our weekend enjoyment

Fans’ expectations of athletes are out of whackToo many sports fans view athletes as robots designed to play games for their entertainment. They sit in the stands or on their sofas, a cold beer in their hands, and yell at injured players for being “too soft” and “not tough enough.” They think jocks should just “suck it up” and get on the…

Coming to grips with the gay reality in sports locker rooms

Professional male sports teams are a cross-section of many cultures. But the idea that they agree about much beyond winning is a fabrication. It's time to open up.

Coming to grips with the gay reality in sports locker roomsOne former pro athlete recently observed that an athlete doesn’t mention three things in the dressing room: His playing time. His salary. And the first name of a teammate’s wife. He might also have added whether your favourite jock likes guys or girls when he gets home from the game that night. This prohibition has…

What sports, e-sports and entertainment fans are looking for

Trevor Doerksen of ePlay Digital is opening doors around the world for interactive gaming

What sports, e-sports and entertainment fans are looking forTrevor Doerksen is CEO of ePlay Digital. What is ePlay Digital and what does it do? Doerksen: ePlay is one of Calgary’s growing number of game publishers. We have created a celebrity-filled, Pokemon Go style game platform for sports, e-sports, and entertainment. We will soon launch the first location-based title from the augmented reality mobile…

Video replay: is the solution worse than the crime?

We can't go back to spitballing the big calls. For the teams and the fans, too much depends on getting it right

Video replay: is the solution worse than the crime?Yogi Berra is notorious for saying “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Yogi was warning about jumping to conclusions in close contests. But he never foresaw a contest that never ended. For reference, consider the he 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. That race will probably never be over for those who participated in or…

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s Melnyk

Far too many odious owners haunt the world of professional sports, preying on ticket-buying fans

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s MelnykIt takes a lot of talent to screw up a National Hockey League franchise in a Canadian city. But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is up to the challenge. The Melnyk misery tour has reduced Ottawa to the frozen equivalent of an Albanian shoe factory. The Sens are four points clear in the Titanic Cup, my…

Baseball must embrace its uniqueness and stay retro

Every time MLB moves away from its history, tradition and nostalgia, the game doesn’t improve a little, it dies a little

Baseball must embrace its uniqueness and stay retroBaseball is a significantly different sport than football, basketball and hockey. It’s that uniqueness, and the tradition that comes from the fact that baseball has changed very little over the years, that accounts for a lot of its popularity. “There’s no crying in baseball!” said Jimmy Dugan (played by Tom Hanks) in the movie A…

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinct

Analytical detail determines winners and losers. So why do coaches insist on winging it at crucial moments?

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinctI’m reading Ted Barris’s book The Dam Busters, about the epic 1943 raid by Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force flyers on the Möhne and Eder dams. The raid was famous for its risk – 53 men were killed, 18 of them Canadian – and for the new technologies used by the bombers…

Is gambling a big deal to the NFL? You can bet on it

With billions now being bet legally on sports, the simple outcome of the Super Bowl game will no longer be the only story

It’s late in Super Bowl LIII this Sunday. The driving New England Patriots, favoured by a field goal, have a three-point lead in the game. Hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide ride on whether the Los Angeles Rams can keep them out of the end zone or whether quarterback Tom Brady will push it in…

Great NFL playoff games tainted by bad officiating, OT rule flaw

The NFL’s officiating video review system needs to be fixed. And overtime comes down to who wins the coin toss. How is that fair?

Great NFL playoff games tainted by bad officiating, OT rule flawI don’t know why some people aren’t sports fans but I’m certainly glad I am. Sunday’s National Football League games reinforced that feeling. What great drama and entertainment the NFL gave us with the conference championship games. Elite athleticism and clutch performances were on exhibit by players from each of the four teams. Sadly, the…

Lawsuit could end sham known as U.S. college sports amateurism

The organization that oversees college athletics broke the $1-billion mark in annual revenue for 2017. And it's considered a non-profit

Lawsuit could end sham known as U.S. college sports amateurismThe College Football Playoff (CFP) championship game recently generated millions of dollars for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States, the universities involved and their media partners. The players who put on a great show of athleticism? Well, they probably got a nice steak dinner. Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and Notre Dame made…

The NHL shoves concussion conversation behind a curtain

Commissioner Gary Bettman never backed up or hinted the NHL might have had a problem related to head injuries to players

The NHL shoves concussion conversation behind a curtainIt used to be a staple of TV game shows. The grinning host on the stage. The dishevelled contestant looking dazed before him. “Do you want the $100 I’m holding in my hand … or would you like what’s behind the curtain up on stage?” Music, cheering, pandemonium. Maybe it was a new set of…

The sad, slow descent into CTE hell

The terrible degenerative disease is claiming more and more victims who played football at all levels

The sad, slow descent into CTE hellAs a sports policy analyst, I’ve learned a lot more about chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in athletes than I ever expected to. Actually, at this point, I’ve learned more than I really want to know. CTE is a terrible degenerative disease, and it takes an immense toll on those who are stricken, as well as…

The increasing – and disturbing – militarization of U.S. sports

The NFL and other pro sports leagues don't celebrate the military as gestures of patriotism. The only motivating factor is money

The increasing – and disturbing – militarization of U.S. sportsAmerica’s major professional sports leagues – most notably the National Football League – have increasingly teamed with the military and corporations to serve up ugly forms of paid and forced patriotism. “The melding of sports and the military should be seen as inappropriate, if not insidious,” says William Astore, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant-colonel…