Gary Mason has written a perceptive column in Saturday’s Globe (Dec 20).
Vancouver hockey hero Trevor Linden retired in a rapturous blaze of appreciation—jersey retirement, 32 page supplements in both papers etc. Obviously an outstanding individual but as Mason says “people who cure diseases don’t get that kind of treatment.”
Then he moves on to Mats Sundin who will now play a truncated schedule $5 million to play 40 games.The town is all excited. Mats is here and Brian Burke the Toronto GM asks the locals not to boo Mats when he comes to Toronto to play.
Mason provides the necessary context—unavailable from all sports writer up until the market and jobs went south—hey just a minute ”forestry workers are being thrown out of work and retail clerks are being laid off in the hundreds…and we’re supposed to be grateful that Mats Sundin signed for less than he could have.”
“We all are now realizing out of whack things got including our value system.”
Well, welcome to Sportsworld, a self-enclosed bubble, a literal sandbox in the muck and mire called life.
Pro athletes have always been given a free pass here. Many are decent folks but you will never find any who move from charity to justice issues and the reason is simple. It takes time to analyze society and its many contradictions,Particularly when it’’s been in the grip of Alan Greenspan and the other Ayn Rand disciple Milton Friedman.
Athletes become so fixated on their careers that few ever graduate to the point that they will challenge the system which rewards them well beyond what they contribute to the world.