I admire athleticism. I admire the people that develop a talent for something, cultivate their skills, and possess a form of superhuman ambition in order to be the best. I admire that, I really do. What I’m unable to wrap my head around is that there are athletes whose per-game salaries are larger than what it costs to pay my tuition. What I’m unable to wrap my head around is that there are athletic events that cost the industry millions, yet simultaneously rake in an even bigger profit, continuously misallocate resources, and take precedence over basic human rights.In August of 2015, Ed Lee, the mayor of San Francisco, announced that the homeless would have to evacuate the area where Super Bowl City, a section of downtown San Fran dedicated to fans and the sport, would be held. Lee has disputed claims that police are pushing the homeless out and tried to justify the occurrences by saying that there would be alternatives provided and extra shelter spaces available. But while there hasn’t been definitive proof that the homeless were being targeted, anecdotal evidence seems to say the opposite.
There is internal displacement of homeless people in the United States because of a football game. The city of San Francisco, or any other past and future hosts, couldn’t possibly have their streets look as if there were people suffering. Instead, year after year, the choice is made to benefit the players, fans, and the NFL, for the sake of the less fortunate. Rather than spend exorbitant amounts of money on shelters, job trainings, education, medical services, or mental health care, it is instead put on police security, parking lots, half-time performances and Panthers or Broncos gear.
We have turned into a society where our sports and our teams, our wins and our losses, have overarched those that don’t have a place to sleep at night. Players are paid millions of dollars for endorsements and commercials, sponsorships, even for riding the bench. Players are paid millions of dollars to play. a. game.
Let it be known: I admire athleticism. What I don’t admire is a city that uses large events like the Super Bowl to ‘clean’ the streets, relocate the homeless population, and spend exceptional amounts of money on fan-based entertainment. Our priorities need to be reordered, and while I may not be good at math, this equation doesn’t seem to add up.