What to ex­pect from the (some­what) new sec­tion

The McGill Daily - - Contents - Louis Sanger

It seems to be a beloved phrase of many sports com­men­ta­tors: pol­i­tics has no place in sports. The phrase is pulled out re­peat­edly when ath­letes take stands on rel­e­vant is­sues, like when Colin Kaeper­nick knelt for the U.S. na­tional an­them dur­ing the NFL’S lastest sea­son. Pol­i­tics and sports are, how­ever, ir­re­versibly linked. In fact, to say that sports are apo­lit­i­cal is to sell sports short. They have much more at play than sim­ply kick­ing a ball, throw­ing a disc, or run­ning around a track. Sports has al­ways been, and al­ways will be, deeply linked with po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, and cul­tural cli­mates.

Sports can be a way to per­form pol­i­tics or di­plo­macy, as was seen with the 1972 Sum­mit Se­ries played be­tween Canada and the Soviet Union, or the 1984 L.A. Olympics boy­cott. In both cases, sport cre­ated a plat­form for na­tions to make peace­ful po­lit­i­cal state­ments. Sports can be ve­hi­cle for so­cial is­sues. Last year, the US Women’s Na­tional Soc­cer Team went on strike to de­mand pay equal­ity. Their strike was widely pub­li­cized and added to the na­tional dis­cus­sion over this im­por­tant is­sue. In Brazil in the 1950s, the in­clu­sion of Black men on the na­tional soc­cer team grad­u­ally led to greater un­der­stand­ing be­tween the coun­try’s eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties, and a sense of shared pa­tri­o­tism.

Sports, then, is far from the apo­lit­i­cal zone that many claim. Its po­si­tion is much more com­plex, and war­rants deeper anal­y­sis than it is reg­u­larly af­forded. Sports are more than scores, in­juries, trans­fers, and trades. They are of­ten a mi­cro­cosm of the world at large, serv­ing as an anal­ogy of what is go­ing on out­side the sta­dium. They are as full of prob­lems and is­sues as the real world.

As pre­vi­ously re­ported in The Daily, there is plenty of racism, sex­ism, trans­pho­bia, and in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity in the world of sports. This is the side of sport that the Sports Sec­tion will cap­ture: their po­lit­i­cal, so­cial, and cul­tural im­pli­ca­tions of sport. Here at Mcgill, and in the world at large, the Sports Sec­tion will fight for a fairer and more equal world, ac­cord­ing to The Daily’s State­ment of Prin­ci­ples.

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