Learn To Win
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We Make It. You Own It.
“He’s out! He’s safe. He’s out! He’s safe!
“If he’s not safe, I’m out. It’s my ball and bat, so game over! I’m goin’ home.
Somehow that not-a-one-of memory of PF Sneakered sandlot games erupted from my subconscious as I began to wrestle with the concept of ownership as it pertains to sports.
It’s a fair supposition to include the current NFL ownership brouhaha over minority coaching as another instigator of these mind wanderings. Or is that wonderings?
The whole concept of ownership in sports has as many tripwires as Plato and Aristotle found in their arguments on the societal subject.
The many shades of meaning in owning, and ownership as it pertains to sports open avenues of discussion worth a peek.
For instance, there’s the owning interpretation of Tiger Woods who told Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz “Only two players have ever truly owned their swings: Moe Norman and Ben Hogan. I want to own mine.”
And similarly, legacy ownership is the branding of a sports technique such as Dick Fosbury’s back-asswards high jumping method which took that event to new heights as the Fosbury Flop virtually replaced the Western Roll of '60s 7' barrier-breaking record-setters John Thomas and Valeri Brumel.
In sports broadcasting, there's the cringe-inducing moment you hear your 11:25 p.m. local sports reporter call a high schooler's dinger with a Bermanesque “back-back-back-back-gone!” Owned as surely as Mel Allen’s “How about that?
Joining the NFL in current ownership headlines are the NCAA and PGA Tour as issues of independence, images, earning inhibitions loom as saddle burrs in races toward the million and billion-dollar paydays to all parties that aren't far away from the Trills-word as legalized sports betting grows.
Franchise owners as individuals have been historic on both sides of the innovation ledger, but are slower than a molasses cabal when it comes to major alterations.
The Rooney Rule was established in 2003. Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball’s color barrier in 1947 and 12 years later the Red Sox ownership allowed Pumpsie Green to pinch run on July 21, completing MLB integration.
The NCAA in the summer of 2021 allowed collegiate athletes to accept payment for licensing their name, and image to sponsors. In 1955 a workmen's compensation suit by the parents of an injured athlete tightened up the no-pay for play NCAA edict.
Now the collegiate athlete, like their AAU brothers and sisters who have enjoyed earning possibilities through sports since 1978 can own a piece of their present as well as their futures.
Again the specter of skyrocketing purses has set up the reappearance of Greg Norman vs The PGA Tour. The Shark leads the Saudi bankrolled LIV Golf Investments which is hell-bent on putting some meat on the skeleton of The Asian golf tour aka Super Golf League by offering megabucks for PGA Tour superstars to jump ship.
These tour players are independent contractors—owning their ability to choose, lose and win.
Sports media ownership is ground where I’ve played and who owns what has cross-pollinating levers.
Take for instance ESPN.
After its founders relinquished most of their ownership to financiers at Getty Oil, Chet Simmons of Wide World of Sports fame led it for a couple of years, leaving to serve the roguish owners of the United States Football League which begat the American Football Conference in the NFL as those powerhouse owners took the air out of USFL’s pigskin.
Until recently a favorite sports ownership story has always been the Green Bay Wisconsin 361,300 citizens that own shares of the Packers. That is until our owners of SportsEdTV decided to live up to their vision and democratize ownership in the ESPN-to-be of sports instruction.
That’s it. I’m taking my mouse and phone and goin’ home.