With the hype surrounding the presidential debate, my thoughts have turned to some of the great debates in sports. These are issues that constantly come up with sports fans -- between friends in a bar during a game, in the media, or between players.
Here are the top five topics debated in sports:
Should performance-enhancing drug users be banned from sports and Halls of Fame?: This is just a single part of a broader question; it includes areas like should anyone who tests positive for anything be banned immediately for life?
We've just seen a global example of this with Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for performance-enhancing drug use. Also, in MLB, San Francisco Giants OF Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for testing positive for testosterone, which also shows the system isn't working. A suspension just isn't enough of a deterrent, given the huge gains these guys must see from PED use. After Cabrera, A's starter Bartolo Colon was suspended 50 games as well. I think players should face a lifetime ban -- with the removal of their stats from the record books -- for a second offense.
Should professional sports player unions be allowed to strike?: When professional athletes who make millions of dollars fight against team owners who have millions of dollars, the people hurt are the workers who sell tickets, serve beer, run the parking lots, provide security, and all the other services and businesses that are supported by those games. Considering most major sports arenas are now at least partially funded by public money, I think we do need more controls on when professional athletes can go on strike.
Do professional athletes get paid too much?: MLB players have an average salary of $3.44 million per year while NBA players get an average of $5.15 million per year. I think the players deserve it as their careers are short (and can end at any moment with an injury) and, more important, for their contribution to the team's stats and to their bottom line. Superstars like Kobe Bryant draw fans who buy tickets to watch them, along with food and Lakers merchandise.
Should instant replay be used in professional sports?: I have strong feelings about this subject and think it should be used as much as possible as it offers the most honest interpretation of the rules, which is what I, as a fan, am seeking. I also think it helped during the recent NFL referees' strike, adding a backup system to the plays called on the field, which can be skewed by the intensity of the game action. I always get a negative reaction to this idea, but I also think baseball should have an electronic system of judging balls and strikes, to complement, if not replace, the umpire. If we have the technology to create a system based on the batter's body size and position that perfectly indicated strikes and balls, why should we continue to rely on a human being? We use the latest technology to get the best sports broadcasting coverage, so why not use it to accurately enforce the rules?
Will women play in men's professional sports?: This debate issue was actually the most interesting to me. I don't see why it hasn't happened yet, especially in the NFL or MLB. I would have to think there are female athletes who could compete in the NFL -- at least as a kicker or punter, not to mention any position in professional baseball. Just as a marketing stunt, it seems like a great idea. It's hard in baseball as there few opportunities for women to play baseball at the high school or college levels.
A woman named Justine Siegal has pitched batting practice for several teams, and there has been a Japanese female player who pitched for an American independent pro team, the Chico Outlaws.
Freddy Sherman grew up in Philadelphia, which didn't make being an Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Dodgers fan easy. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, now able to follow the Dodgers openly and attends games frequently, with occasional trips to Oakland to see the Raiders.
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