Sports culture in the US…we have a problem

Steve Blake, wearing a yellow Laker's jersey, has put both hands over his face after missing a crucial game-ending shot.

Steve Blake of the Los Angeles Lakers

[CONTENT NOTE: sexual assault of children, re: Penn State scandal]

There is nothing earth-shattering or even original about this post. Nor do I believe for one second that what I am going to write about is a US phenomenon. But I don’t want to speak out of turn about sports culture in other places because I simply do not know enough to do so.

According to

NBA player Steve Blake and his wife have received a stream of hate — including at least one death threat — from fans via Twitter after the Lakers guard missed a crucial shot in an important playoff game.

Blake had an open three-pointer that would have won the second game of the Lakers’ Western Conference Semifinals matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. But he missed, the Lakers went down 2-0 in the series and a comeback appears improbable.

So, death threats for players who don’t play awesomely in the big moments. But enable the rape of children for years on end and: “Penn State students stage mini-riot after Joe Paterno is fired“.

As Lis Mitchell said to me on Twitter: “It is horrible that sports culture valourizes performance over being a decent human being.”

And I responded (in many less words and less coherently) to her saying that this type of valorization also then seems to extend out to fans, who suddenly feel entitled to treat those who fail to do well at sports as less than worthy of even the lowest levels of respect. BUT if you do well at sports, then it’s almost as if you have carte blanche to do whatever you want, no matter how horrific the circumstances.

Sports culture in the US…we have a problem.