Jan 22 2015
The Super Bowl is approaching and we’ll naturally see some type of tribute paid to the military – maybe a flyover before the game; military members bringing out the flag; or, an ad for a beer company who hopes that showing respect for the military will cause people to crack open a cold one.
This is all good. I think it’s nice to see our military members appreciated, as long as it isn’t patronizing or for obvious commercial purposes (sorry Bud and Miller). And I think it’s great that the NFL, NBA, etc. think about including these tributes.
What irritates me is when the individuals involved in sports (athletes, coaches, general mangers) start comparing themselves to military members. What ticked me off recently is hearing the new GM for the Jets say he was “ready to go war” with his new coach. And a former tight end with the Broncos talked about how he “would take a bullet” for the team’s new coach.
We’ve heard stories of a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save his comrades, so to hear an athlete say he’d take a bullet for a coach is insulting to those who really are prepared to actually do this act.
Granted, people such as athletes, coaches, and GMs are dedicated, ambitious, disciplined, and, in the athlete’s cases, in good physical shape (well, except for baseball players and kickers). But there’s a big difference in an athlete’s dedication to his team and sport (and a large paycheck) and a soldier knowing that he or she might be required to die for his or her country. Athletes, coaches, and GMs are paid to entertain – they won’t be in a position to possibly die for their country.
I realize that sports are just entertainment, yet when I hear people in that industry make these comparisons it does irritate me because it diminishes what our active duty members are doing out there – for a lot less money and a lot less publicity (and while having Congress call for cuts to their benefits).
I think the time to compare athletes and servicemembers is when we’re discussing those athletes who have sacrificed their careers to serve their country – Pat Tillman, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, etc.
Hopefully, we’ll have a good Super Bowl (if the Patriots can stop cheating) with post-game comments confined to how hard someone played and how happy they were to win – and not some false analogy to being a soldier.
I forget where I read this, but this seems to sum up the topic: “Comparing millionaire athletes who play a game to underpaid military personnel who are often called upon to risk their lives on a daily basis is not wise.”
Image caption: U.S. Soldiers of HHC, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, stand for the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl 44 at Camp Ramadi, Iraq, Feb. 8. Super Bowl 44 pitted the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints against the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts.