Sports-War Spasm

Sports stories rarely make it into the index of blogs at Blogdex, but today 9 of the top 50 links are about Pat Tillman, the man who gave up a career in the NFL to become a U.S. Army Ranger and was killed in action yesterday.

Sadly, this is treated by the North American media as a sports story (yes, Canada covered it the same way). Of course, this is because it is perceived as the ultimate sacrifice: not only giving up one's life for service in the Army, but leaving a Pro Football Career to do so. In doing so, it elevates the professional athlete even higher in the subconscious of the consuming public — that is, being a pro athlete must be a pretty big damn deal if there is such a media-spasm after one soldier's death.

To be fair, many of the commenters in the blogosphere have pointed out that every single casualty in the war is the heart-breaking epitome of the ultimate sacrifice — not just Tillman's. It is just unfortunate that the aftershocks felt from this spasm are likely to strengthen the NFL and its jingoism, despite the fact that by all accounts Tillman didn't want a big deal made out of his decision.

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