Some thoughts for the weekend… I’ll say upfront that I’m not a huge fan of Forbes, particularly when it comes to their sports coverage, but their annual list of the world’s 100 highest paid athletes makes for interesting reading. Two things are clear: the money is still in the US – 63 of the athletes are American; 73 are US-based – but the sponsorship business is a global one.
Tennis, baseball, both forms of football, badminton, athletics and mahjong all feature in this week’s wrap…
In today’s Sports Talk column, I look at several recent incidents where abuse from fans apparently seems ok, purely because they are sitting in the stands and not meeting in the street, as well as other situations where the attitude in and around clubs is homophobic and discriminatory. Space prevents a proper discussion, and the incidents selected are not always the best – just the most recent – but the point is that the underlying trend is hateful.
Sports can get ugly. There are fouls, bad sportsmanship and cheating, but then there’s something worse: abuse and discrimination, both on and off the field. That ugly side has again reared its head in recent days.
Today’s links have a US feel – basketball, baseball and football. Check them out:
Jon Pastuszek at Niubball has the scoop on who could be the next NBA superstar to play in the CBA (clue: it’s a BIG name!)
Manny Ramirez could end up playing baseball in Taiwan and The Hall of Very Good is hoping that Taiwan’s legendary animators NMA work their Manny magic once again.
War Room Sports has an interview with Ron “Jaws” Jaworski, ESPN analyst and former Eagles QB and the man behind the Arena Football League’s push into China.
Former NFL safety Jack Brewer, who is very active promoting the game in China, admitted to me recently that the NFL had made some serious missteps in the past here by rushing in too quickly and then having to retreat somewhat.
“It’s the NFL. We’re Americans. When are we not overambitious?”
But he added that the league has learned from that and is now taking a slower, grassroots approach that it hopes will be more sustainable. Either way, it won’t be clear for years whether the NFL has a serious future in China. In a perfect world, one or more promising Chinese kids will move to the US and make it in the NFL, but that won’t be happening anytime soon – if ever – and involves so many variables. So the alternative is to try and make progress inch by inch.
This week’s Global Times column on the Manti Te’o fiasco: