While spending time reading sports sections this week, I noticed that both the NFL and the NHL may be looking to put franchises in Las Vegas. Though I think the NHL may end up in Vegas first, I am going to spend some time discussing the NFL’s possibilities of placing a team in Sin City.
My first thought is the similarities between professional football these days and Las Vegas. Greed, violence, and money quickly come to mind. My second thought is that the franchise being discussed as the one moving to Nevada is the Oakland Raiders. What a fit, the Hell’s Angels of the NFL.
We have gone down this road before. Las Vegas has pretended for years to want its very own big-time sports team. Way back, it took a shot at getting the Expos from Montreal. There was talk about Seattle and the Supersonics along with the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Spring training baseball and exhibition NHL games are played in Las Vegas.
This is the first time we are hearing rumblings about the NFL.
One thought I have is that the NFL has to know that Las Vegas football would not hold the same prominence as Pittsburgh or Green Bay football where nothing else matters. All kinds of things matter in Las Vegas.
Another thought I have is that it really doesn’t matter to the NFL where it is because it is essentially a TV sport these days. Franchises make their money from television contracts. This has led NFL franchises jump from place to place, wherever their owners can get the best deal.
Then there is the perception of having a team in a gambling haven. The NFL stated that it guards its shield, while promoting their game as wholesome and honest. How will that play in Las Vegas?
Zika And The Olympics
Of all the things that could halt the Olympic movement, who would have thought it would be a mosquito.
The World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a statement Tuesday that the Olympic Games should go on as planned. The WHO stated that athletes and spectators, except for pregnant women, should not hesitate to attend the games as long as they take precautions against infection with the Zika virus.
They did admit that some attendees may contract the mosquito-borne infection and even bring it back home, but the risk in August is relatively low. This information has already led to many US athletes, especially from the NBA, to withdraw their names from attending.
I have to wonder if politics are playing into the WHO’s recommendation. Especially when the same organization says that it expects Zika to spread from northern Argentina to the southern United States whether or not the Games take place.
The WHO stated that the athletes and the global 1 percent who can afford tickets and can take precautions. It also recommended that officials in Brazil should continue to intensify mosquito control and that insect repellent, condoms and health advice should be available for all athletes and visitors.
I did read an opposing view by Arthur L. Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University who wrote in February that holding the Olympics in Brazil would be “irresponsible.” He said the WHO was “betting on the weather, responsible behavior by visitors, adequate mosquito control and a low sexual-transmission rate by returning visitors. He went on to say that this is a gamble.
Caplan’s views came a few weeks after the WHO emergency committee advised the WHO director general to declare an emergency over the possibility that the Zika virus had caused a cluster of birth defects in large numbers of babies in Brazil. It should also be known that the WHO and the C.D.C. have concluded that Zika causes microcephaly: abnormally small heads and brain damage in infants.
As the Games draw near, look for more discussion on this topic.