Feature

There’s no diplomacy in sports

In international competitions, teams often feel they have something to prove—“whether it’s the superiority of communism or democracy or the Aryan race,” said Charles Lane at The Washington Post.

Charles LaneThe Washington Post

“Sports diplomacy” is a contradiction in terms, said Charles Lane. When vicious fighting broke out on the basketball court last week between members of the Georgetown Hoyas and China’s Bayi Rockets during an international friendship tour, it was a reminder that athletic competitions “are an especially bad way to get people to like each other.” In that brawl in China, players traded punches and wrestled, Chinese players kicked Georgetown players on the floor, and Chinese fans showered the Americans with thrown projectiles. Ah, “yet another triumph for the cause of friendship through international athletics.”

In international competitions, teams often feel they have something to prove—“whether it’s the superiority of communism or democracy or the Aryan race.” Look at the Olympics: From the start, the Games have been marred by things like Hitler’s “fascism demonstration project,’’ a terrorist attack, multiple boycotts, cheating, drug taking, and biased referees. If the goal is “peace, love, and understanding,” why pit nations against each other in contests designed to produce winners and losers?

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