This week’s readings discuss the relationship between politics and sports. Whether it be the execution and torture of political prisoners whilst a world cup is occurring, young men who are passionate for soccer being deported, or the idea of the lost cause and Nascar, sports and politics have been intertwined for some time. During the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, a right-wing dictatorship was imprisoning, torturing and killing their opposition from the left. These were not just armed revolutionaries, but everyday people that might just disagree with the regime. Due to these atrocities, the 1978 Argentine team that won the world cup is not celebrated for their victories like other Argentine heroes are. The events of that world cup were used as a victory by Argentine dictator Videla. A man that did not really care for sports was all smiles when his nation won. To him, it was a political victory. Years later, he would die in prison and be buried privately. While celebrations rung out in the streets, prisoners would sulk in their cells clutching their maimed bodies. World Cups after 1978 would still haunt many citizens who experience the torture firsthand or lost their loved ones. While soccer represents joy and triumph to many Argentines, to others it brings up the traumatic political past. In America, soccer is a way out for many immigrants from Latin American countries, especially those who came to America illegally. Lizandro and his brother Diego arrived in America and sought to play D1 college soccer. In an attempt to be transparent, Lizandro met with ICE to inform them of his college scholarship. This resulted in him and his brother to be deported back to El Salvador, a place they did not call home. In many people’s eyes, Lizandro and Diego were contributing members of society who did not deserve to be deported. This sentiment did not matter however to ICE, who under President Trump’s America first policy, were deporting a large number of illegal immigrants. Finally, Nascar has been used as a representation of the old South’s lost cause. This was the idea that the common confederate soldier fought for the right to be free of government control. Nascar drivers were seen as men who loved the thrill of speed and freedom since Nascar’s routes were from the Moonshine production during Prohibition. The common southern man could identify with Dale Earnhardt’s background of a working man who raced to provide for himself and a family. Other sports superstars were seen as pompous and arrogant while Earnhardt earned his cocky attitude. Sports represent a lot of things for people and politics is one of them. This is why it so common to see sports being intertwined with politics as recently seen with Colin Kaepernick kneeling or Lebron being told to “shut up and dribble”. Sports will surely have a place in politics until one of them dies.

2 Thoughts on “Week 14

  1. Hello There Stephen,
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your summary of our reading on politics and sports. It’s interesting to see how sports and politics have intermingled throughout the years whether we have realized it or not. And seeing how sports wins are not just a sports victory, but a political statement was interesting to see played out.

  2. I must say Stephen you brought forth a very powerful observation of the article. I think it is very important to note that Videla did not care about the beautiful game at all. All he cared about was the victory made Argentina look powerful and also while there was people celebrating in the streets of Argentina there was also people rotting in jail beaten, tortured and not enjoying the excitement of winning the world cup at all.

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