Tracking the misadventures of college basketball, Dennis Burman raises uncomfortable truths — not just about our attitudes toward sports, but our attitudes toward politics.
We do not operate on principle. We advocate for our tribe. And if our tribe gets involved in what we can spin or describe as a personal peccadillo, if shading the truth or exaggerating can be explained away as prophetic or patriotic, then so be it.
At least the right side wins. Or so we think.
But what dies in the process? Our principles.
On the basketball court those principles include honor, sportsmanlike conduct, honesty, magnanimity, fair play, and the ability to lose with grace.
On the political field those principles include transcendent commitments to democracy, confidence in the system of checks and balances, open debate, honesty, freedom, integrity, and a devotion to something larger than ourselves.
Gone is our commitment to something larger. Winning looms large. We rationalize. We pick through the morality of our opponents and turn a blind eye to the conduct of our own tribe.
Devil take the hindmost.
We used to tell our children that sports were a place where, win or lose, you acquired values that would see you through a life time. We were right.