Fixing Pro Sports?
Media, Corruption and Lies
That’s just one of the melancholy thoughts in
Brian Tuohy’s The Fix is In: The Showbiz
Manipulations of the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NASCAR (Feral House). The Kenosha sports writer
trades the usual boosterism of his profession for the mantle of investigative
reporter. What he finds are league officials and team owners desperate to hide
scandal, athletes guilty of everything from fixing their own games to spousal
Tuohy argues his case forcefully, or maybe cases
is a better word. As a compendium of wrongdoing and rule breaking, The Fix is In tends to conflate the
victimless crime of an athlete betting on his team to win with the
egregiousness of an athlete shaving points for the bookies. The failure to test
players for pot smoking emerges alongside failures to identify and prevent the
use of performance drugs.
But even if there are no shades of gray in Tuohy’s perspective, he certainly finds enough blackness in misconduct and even Mob-controlled criminality. Although many of the charges he unearths were never proven in court, the smoke is so thick that the fires must be numerous and spread across the entire playing field of professional sports. Along with the power of money, loyalty to the game and the human tendency to protect one’s own in explaining the action and inaction of owners and sports commissioners, the happy talk media is to blame for failing to play watchdog. Tuohy’s depressing conclusion is that professional athletics has more to do with entertainment than sports. Football then becomes little different than professional wrestling except for one thing: everyone knows that wrestling is just a spectacle.