The disintegration of sports cronyism

Proposed Olympic ttransformation of Boston Common, with text "Bilk Boston"

The USOC’s planned future for Boston Common

I’m not much of a sports fan, but I’m enjoying the disintegration of the Boston 2024 Olympics bid as much as a dedicated Red Sox fan would enjoy seeing the Yankees beaten 10-0. Look at Twitter under the hashtag #Boston2024 to see how the USOC is getting a pounding from almost everyone. (I won’t even talk about what #NoBoston2024 looks like.) The latest bad news for the USOC is the revelation that it has been trying to hide its quest for taxpayer funding.

The pounding writer Shirley Leung has gotten for her condescending piece explaining to the USOC that Bostonians “throw tantrums like 2-year-olds” has been a source of fun too. She wrote, “Blame it on PTSD after suffering through more than 100 inches of snow this winter.” That line’s getting rather thin now that the temperatures are around 90. She says Bostonians unjustly “moaned and groaned” about the Big Dig, not mentioning the vast cost overruns and inept work that killed people. She even mocked the American Revolution, saying, “We are difficult people. Just ask the British.” Yet in saying that, she inadvertently hit on an important point: that Bostonians will, at least sometimes, refuse to knuckle under to people who want to rob and control them.

The USOC (@TeamUSA) is using the slogan “Back Boston” on Twitter to imply that if you’re against the Boston Olympics, you’re against Boston. No one’s buying it. Just yesterday as I’m writing this, Brookline, Mass., officials and residents passed a non-binding resolution opposing the bid.

The arrests of high-ranking FIFA people for allegedly taking bribes has helped to bring the ugliness of sports cronyism out in the open; but really, how different is what they’re accused of doing from what corporate welfare-seeking sports groups do every time they look for subsidies and favors? The goal is the same: to pull money out of taxpayers’ pockets and into theirs. The theory that claims the US has jurisdiction is actually scary — it’s that the money went through servers located in the US — but that’s a separate issue.

This isn’t the most important issue facing the world today, but it’s fun to see an attempt to loot people collapse so ignominiously.

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