We the players, in order to ...

Posted 10/28/20

To the Editor:

Let’s talk about the heart and soul of sports.

Play is its heart and fair play is its soul.

Fair play is epitomized on the baseball sandlots of another era, before …

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We the players, in order to ...

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Posted
Updated:

To the Editor:

Let’s talk about the heart and soul of sports.

Play is its heart and fair play is its soul.

Fair play is epitomized on the baseball sandlots of another era, before helicopter parenting, where rock-paper-scissors was the umpire. The wisdom of those young neighborhood athletes flies in the face of the “dumb jock” sports slur carelessly tossed about by slugs of the world.

Sports playground wisdom often manifests in athletes who later become community and political leaders.

Consider Senator Bill Bradley — All-American at Princeton, Rhodes Scholar and New York Knicks Hall of Famer — and his political opposite, Jackie Kemp — star Buffalo Bills quarterback, New York Congressman, Presidential candidate and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Though politically polar opposites as athletes, sports annals continue to admire their on-court and on-field accomplishments as does history admire their community contributions.

Bradley and Kemp come from a time when Cassius Clay was sentenced to jail for his Vietnam War pacifism only to be honored in 1996 as Muhammad Ali by lighting the Olympic Flame at the Atlanta Games.

The heart and soul of sports don’t change much, but the times and we do.

Compare the Olympics making broadcasting history in 1936, when the Berlin Games were locally beamed out live in black and white, to today’s 24/7 array of satellite sports television networks giving international voice to the LeBrons, Megans, and Johnny Macs of the sports world.

At heart, our sports fair play soul today allows disparate views of the Curt Schillings and Colin Kaepernicks of America to be heard. And it is our freedom as players and fans to agree with them or not.

One thing we players should agree on is our inalienable right as American citizens to vote.

If we don’t vote, do we actually turn out to be dumb jocks?

Find your voting information here: www.vote.org.

Peter Fox

Chapel Hill

The writer is the founding executive producer of ESPN.

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