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What is the history and the future of XFL and Politics?

What is the history of sports?  Since the beginning of time, there have been stories of battles.  Sometimes the battles happened between individuals, for example, the story of Cain and Able from the Book of Genesis in the Bible.  Other times, the stories are between nations, the story of Exodus in the Bible.  Unfortunately, deciding who is the fittest and and who is the strongest resulted in a lot of death and destruction and destroyed lies, both emotionally and physically.

Today, people use sports and gambling as healthy alternatives to the violence of actual wars — street wars or even international wars. Even sites like Grande Vegas online casino or online video games can be healthy alternatives to physical street wars and international wars.

Anybody who has played poker in person knows that poker is about more than just the physical act of gambling.  If a group of people just wanted to play cards, they could just play Go Fish.  But they choose to now play Go Fish and actively choose to play Poker.

Poker is about sizing up your opponent, social interaction, understanding human nature, understanding when the other people are telling the whole story, only telling some of the story, and outright lying through their teeth.  But most of all, it also involves understanding yourself, your role in the group, and having confidence in yourself and the hand you were dealt.

What is the relationship between the Olympics and Politics?

Sports are no different when talking about using the sports field to settle disputes and temporary truces.  The first recorded Olympic Games were held at Olympia in the Greek city-state of Elis in 776 B.C.E.  Most people believe that by that time, the Olympics had existed for at least 500 years before that.  So we are talking somewhere around 1300 B.C.E. is when the actual first Olympics happened.

The ancient Olympics were held every four years.  It occurred during a religious festival honoring the Greek god Zeus. In the eighth century B.C.E., contestants came from a dozen or more Greek cities, and by the fifth century B.C.E. the contestants from as many as 100 cities from throughout the Greek empire.

Initially, Olympic competition was limited to foot races, but later a number of other events were added, including wrestling, boxing, horse and chariot racing, and military competitions.  With the rise of the Roman Empire, the ancient Olympics were abolished, because the Roman Empire was Christian and the Christians believed that the Olympics were associated with paganism.

In 1892, the modern version of the Olympics, as most of associate the word Olympics with, were restarted.  The international competition was scheduled to occur every 4 years.  The first Modern Olympic Games were planned for 1896 in Athens, the capital of Greece.  At the time of the Olympics, warring nations did a temporary truce, so the athletes from warring nations could compete on neutral grounds.  It has not always been perfect.  There were times when one nation murdered the athletes of another nation.  Fortunately those incidents were few and far between.

What about Sports, American Football, and Friendly Sports Competitions?

Most people, when they think about sports like Football, Basketball, Baseball, and others, think about friendly competitions.  Yes, people root for their “home team” or their “favorite team”.  Yes, they want “their team” to “win” and the “other team” to lose.  Cities and the companies that own the sports teams, like the NFL and the XFL encourage this in order to sell more tickets, support local business, and good old American dollars and cents.

Most of the time, beyond people get drunk and saying things that would not say to their boss or coworkers, most people act respectably.    Are sports fans “perfect”?  No.  People get out of control.

Sunday night football has a direct connection to Monday night domestic violence.  A person’s “favorite team” loses, so they get drunk, and they beat their spouse or children.  Yea, I do not understand that relationship either.  But it goes to show you that sports and competition and sports and war have relationship to each other.  Most of the time, friendly sports competitions prevent disputes escalating into violence.  But as we all know with Monday Night Domestic Violence, that is not always the case.

What is the relationship between Sports and Politics?

For the most part, in American Football sports history, politics stayed out of the sports.  Yes, local Mayors wanted to encourage supporting the local team, so that they could get the tax dollars associated with local advertising dollars, and the money spent (aka tax dollars collected) when sports fans visit a sports stadium and make it a day on the town.

Most sports teams wanted to stay out of the Democrat vs. Republican politics, because one year the leaders of the city might be Democrats, but in a different year, they may be Republicans.  As a result, as with big business, it made more financial sense to support both sides.  Yes, individual people had their own individual political ideologies and political preferences, but the teams in general tried to remain neutral.  They wanted to keep the neutral territory that is associated with sports competition — the non-violent alternative to settle disputers and have friendly competition.

Why is the national anthem sung at sporting events?

The American National Anthem was first written as a poem during the War of 1812 when Francis Scott Key, after a long sea battle, saw a ship severely damaged, but the American Flag still raised.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The first documented time that the National Anthem was played at an American sporting event came at a baseball game in 1862, during the Civil War.  The tradition of playing it at sports events got a dramatic boost at the 1918 World Series, during World War I. And the tradition of playing it before games was popularized during World War II.  “We’re a patriotic country and we’re different from the rest of the world in that respect,” historian-author Marc Ferris says. “As we grew and as we prospered, people wanted to show their patriotism.”

“And bombs bursting in air. North and South wrestled over which side could claim the song during the Civil War.”

“The North won the tug of war,” Ferris says. “The irony is that the South’s anthem, Dixie, was written by an anti-slavery Northerner whereas the Star-Spangled Banner, the anthem of the North, was written by a slave-holding Southerner whose family supported the Confederacy” long after Key died in 1843.

Key’s song was played at some baseball games in the 1890s, often with great pomp, Ferris says, but the World Series in 1918 offered a star-spangled moment. Babe Ruth’s Boston Red Sox opened in Chicago against the Cubs. The game came 17 months — and 100,000 American deaths — after the U.S. entered the war to end all wars, World War I.

During World War I, 1914-1917, there were no sound systems.  In order for the national anthem to be played at sporting events, the owners of the team had to hire a band.  Bands were expensive, so they were only hired for major events.   By Word War II, 1940-1945, sound systems were everywhere.   As a result, the national anthem was played everywhere, before the opera, before the movies, before the theater, and before sporting events.

“Amid the upheaval of Vietnam, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle enforced a policy that players stand at attention during the anthem, with helmets tucked under their arms. They were not to talk, chew gum or move their feet.  The government cannot restrict speech under the First Amendment. Employers can.”

And now we come to today.

In 2021, what is the status of sporting events, the national anthem, and taking a knee?

Since August 2016, some players have protested against police brutality and racism by kneeling on one knee while the national anthem is played.  Now we even have players putting a shirt over their head, because even looking at the American flag now offends them.

Sporting events revenue was $20,950 million dollars in 2019.  In 2020, it went down to $5,052 million.  In 2021, it went up a bit to $6,399.    Some of massive drop in revenue in 2020 and 2021 is due to COVID.  In 2020, in person sports events were non-existent.  Hence, the major reason whey XFL became bankrupt.  In 2021, COVID is still an issue.  Some states allow anybody to attend a sporting event in person.  While other states required that fans must be vaccinated in order to attend sporting events.  So even if a fan is vaccinated, they still may choose to not attend a sporting event (or even watch it in person) as a protest.

But putting COVID aside, there is the whole BLM (Black Lives Matter) and taking a knee during the national anthem.

Look at a picture of sports team during the national anthem in 2015.  Every player and fan stood at attention during the national anthem.  There were no Democrats and there were no Republicans.  There were just Americans.  They checked their political differneces at the door, and for the time between the national anthem and the end of the game, they were all Americans.  Yes, they were BattleHawk fans, Roughneck fans, Guardian fans, Dragon fans, Viper fans, Defender fans, or Wildcat fans. But they were all Americans, and for the most part, they were proud to be Americans.

That changed in 2016 after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and later knelt during the anthem, before his team’s preseason games of 2016.  On September 24, 2017, the NFL protests became widespread when over 200 players sat or knelt in reaction to Trump’s call for owners to “fire” the protesting players.  As in the true American spirit, threaten to take away a person’s freedom, and the reaction will become the exact opposite of what you wanted.  Hence one protester becomes 200 protesters.

Summary

Personally, I think that sporting events should return to becoming the neutral ground for “settling disputes” in a healthy manner that they have hisotrically been associated with.

People attend sporting events to “check out from life”.  They want to be entertained and have a good time with family and friends.  By bringing politics to the sports arena, that healthy societal release valve is being taken away.   In my opinion, that is not a good thing.  Think about the Harry Potter series.  When a wizard does not release their magic in a healthy way, the magic builds up inside of them, and when the magic is finally released, it it completely uncontrollable.  Sporting events and the need of human to “battle each other” and “settle disputs”, if it is not done in a healthy manner, for example, on the sports field, then it is going to be done in an unhealthy manner, for example, rioting on the streets.

The playing of the National Anthem was intended to bring people together.  To remind everybody that although we have differences, we are all Americans.  If that no longer exists, then the purpose of playing the National Anthem at sporting events no longer exists.

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