Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Show me what you got

Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal just dropped their list of the 50 most influential people in sports. Like most other lists of "most influential people," these are white men with lots of money who fucking own you. Viewing the whole list requires a paid subscription, so here are the top ten, as seen at Off Wing Opinion:
1.George Bodenheimer President, ESPN/ABC Sports
2.David Stern NBA Commissioner
3.Bud Selig MLB Commissioner
4.Dick Ebersol Chairman, NBC Sports
5.Roger Goodell NFL Commissioner
6. David Hill President Direct TV Entertainment Group. Chairman, Fox Sports
7. Tony Ponturo Vice President of Marketing, Anheuser-Busch
8. Brian France President and CEO, NASCAR
9. Phil Knight Chairman, Nike
10. Sean McManus President, CBS Sports
It's always sobering when you see a list like this- one that reads like a roll-call of candidates for a presidential appointment- that reminds you that LeBron James and LaDanian Tomlinson are small potatoes in this whole sports game. Consider the dude in the 700 level with his shirt off and his moobs painted green, screaming "Westbrook, you the fuckin man!" I'm sure he doesn't think twice about how Brian Westbrook is actually a smooth (if unconscious) product rep for a ton of old whiteys behind the tint in the skybox. The commisioners excluded, just about anybody else in that top ten could be padding his pockets any time you flip on the game or cop a NFL branded beer coolie.

The boys and girls on the internets have been persistent watchdogs of the powers that be- and it's important for big media companies like ESPN to have some accountability. There's a fine line between a company that serves your interests (I want to watch some sports) and a company that drives your interests (I need more sneakers). We're used to calling companies out on their illuminati-moves, but we are conditioned as kids to forget that sports franchises run on the same model. Bud Selig, #3 on that list, has an anti-trust exemption. Kenneth Lay had Dick Cheney on speed dial, but couldn't have scrambled enough black helicopters to pull any MLB level cornering.

Akin to my realization that I was programmed to like BigMacs, I get dismayed when I see behind the curtein veiling my idyllic conceptions of sport and realize that I'm not a Steelers fan, I'm a loyal Dan Rooney customer.