Sports used to be simple activities. One could play or watch and simply enjoy it. As people’s interests in sports grew, so did the industry. Today sports are a medium for big businesses to make money and generate influence. Sports now create heroes in the form of players who command a huge influence in society. In the Olympics for example, sports help give nations credibility and also may be the reason behind international conflict. In modern politics, campaigns have started to include sports in them.
In his new book, “Playing Tough: The World of Sports and Politics”, Roger Abrams takes a closer look at the unique role sports have played in politics and history. Abrams is a Professor of Law at Northeastern University and a leader in the field of sports law. In his book, he describes the role sports have played in modern politics and the lives of several U.S. presidents: Richard Nixon suggested playing styles to NFL teams; Herbert Hoover designed his own medicine ball-tossing game on the White House grounds, and President Obama plays basketball during his spare time. Abrams said that sports have become part of the political currency. He said this trend is evident today in the negotiations between businessmen and politicians to build new stadiums and franchises. He goes on to say that sports have grown beyond the point where they were just a game. It’s now part of what we are and for some, it’s the most integral part of their lives.
The sports industry is now bigger than ever. Athletes may start to realise their power as influencers. Recently Mesut Ozil, a Muslim footballer, spoke up against the injustices Uyghurs were facing in China. Asia is a huge market for European football clubs and as a result, the Chinese government has blocked telecasts of all matches in which Ozil features. This has also resulted in a great loss in television revenue for the Arsenal football club, the team that Ozil plays for.